Grandparent Visitation Legislation Being Passed

Fort Lauderdale area readers interested in the topic of grandparents’ rights may be interested in what has recently occurred in the Connecticut House of Representatives. There the House unanimously passed a grandparent visitation rights bill.

Under this new law, grandparents would have the right to petition the court to allow visitation of their grandchildren if the parents of the child happen to be divorced. The law would require the grandparents to prove that they had a close relationship with the grandchildren. They would also be required to show that the grandchildren might face potential harm if such visitation was denied.

Obviously, such a bill was felt needed as grandparents often offer a wide variety of support and needed guidance for their grandchildren. In return, allowing such visitation provides grandparents with the emotional benefit of still feeling needed.

In the past, divorce was a rarity so grandparents often never had this concern. Also, even when divorce did take place in the past, parents often continued to reside in the same community so that there was no geographical separation between grandparents and grandchildren.

Still, some parents object to such a bill because they feel it interferes with their freedom to make their own determinations as to how their children should be raised. Such parents are also concerned about what future laws may be passed concerning child custody and visitation arrangements.

Fortunately, even with such legislation, the courts have discretion as to what sort of visitation arrangements can be made. If clients and attorneys can make their case that the visitation rights of a grandparent are needed for the child, it is likely that the court will abide. No court will ever intentionally approve of a visitation arrangement that could prove harmful to the child.

Source: Imperfect Parent, “Connecticut House unanimously passes grandparent visitation bill,” by Ella Desrosiers, April 18, 2012

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