Grandparents’ Rights

Aug 8, 2012 by

What are Grandparents’ Rights?

Grandparents have rights in all states to be granted visitation or even custody of their grandchildren. Each state has its own standard when it comes to fighting for visitation in court. Several states require the grandparents to have been denied visitation before they can fight. Minnesota and Pennsylvania will only hear cases in which the child lived with the grandparent for a length of time before visitation was denied.

What is Troxel v. Granville?

Troxel v. Granville was a case argued by lawyers in front of the US Supreme Court in June 2000. The case overturned a Washington State law that allowed judges to grant visitation to any person as long as the visits were in the best interest of the child. The Supreme Court decided to override this law saying that it conflicted with a parent’s right to raise their own child as they see fit. However, the ruling is not explicit and thus is often called into question when discussing grandparent’s rights.

What is Burdon of Proof in a Grandparents’ Rights Case?

Again, this differs from state-to-state. Stricter states such as Florida, Minnesota and Pennsylvania require proof of a parental relationship between the grandparent and the child. This could mean extended stays with the grandparent, or caring for the child medically or financially even while they are in the care of their biological parent.

The court will accept written affidavits from witnesses and they may have the child appear in court in order to judge the true nature of the relationship.

Where Can I Get More Information?

You can get information and support from or check with your local AARP branch.


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