Skip to comments.Grandparents
Posted on 01/14/2013 10:48:33 AM PST by Allen In Texas Hill Country
The wife and I have an ongoing disagreement about the legal rights of grandparents. I know the internet is not necessarily the right place to go to ask/get legal opinions but this is FR and I believe every thing I read here.(/sarc)
Can the parents (of sound mind) prevent garandparents (of sound mind) from seeing underage grandchildren? I say absolutely and she says grandparents have a legal right to see their grandchildren. Can anybody safely shed a bit of light here? Thanks.
The parents can keep them away, but the deeper question is why?
It is sad, but, yes, grandparents can be kept from their grandchildren. SOME states (Texas is NOT one of them) allow grandparents visitation rights. Family IS important!
I’m fairly certain that whatever rights the grandparents might have are trumped by the parents’ rights.
Ask it in a different way and the answer is obvious: Do parents have the God given right to choose who their minor children come into contact with?
Straight from the source.
“It is sad, but, yes, grandparents can be kept from their grandchildren.”
I don’t think it’s sad. We can’t have the state dictating to parents who their children may see and not see.
If there is severe, proven abuse or neglect by a parent(s), they can lose their parental rights. Then the state takes over, and they can decide all manner of things for the kids.
If that isn’t the case, the parents will decide. I am certain no parent makes the right decision at all times. I know I haven’t. But we can’t have the government come in and start legislating relationships. That is not their role.
I think the answer differs from state to state. I know of many court cases that have been fought about this.
There may be some states which allow grandparents rights, I know of none.
A friend of mine sued in California to see her grandchildren, and the court said no.
Grandparents have no rights at all.
I tried to get heard at the custody hearing of my Grand daughter and the Judge acted like I wasn’t alive.
Exactly, Pollster. What if I am a Christian and the grandparents like to insinuate that Christianity is for dummies?
Or if I forbid swearing and the grandparents insist on it around the kids?
What if I ban sugar and the GPs like to sneak cookies? What if I am a conservative and the GPs like to have my kids listen to NPR??
What if I am concerned that the GPs are fishing for lies to accuse me with and make me lose custody of the kids? They can’t assert any sort of abuse or neglect if they have no interaction with them.
What if the GPs had a history of abuse of me or others? What if they were never convicted, but I knew it was true? What if I just suspected it?
What if some of my GPs friends give me the heebie jeebies and I worry that said friends are going to “come around” when my kids are there? What if I think their driving skills are really poor and I can’t trust them not to drive my kids places?
What if they watch questionable movies or tv shows I don’t want my kids to see? What if they are nudists? What if I am a teetotalar and they drink?
You know, I’m the parent. The buck stops here. If I don’t think my kids are better off being with their GPs, I don’t. I should not have to so much as defend my reasons to any court.
Its not “our children don’t want us to see their kids”. A bit more complex than that, sorry. And the the grandkid is in Alabama. The wife and I always have spirited, but calm, disagreements and its looks like I won this debate. Unfortunately :<((((((
Thanks all for the responses.
Very true. One of the many reasons why asking for legal advice online is not a great idea.
I agree with you. If grandparents want to foster meaningful relationships with their grandchildren the best way is to have a healthy relationship with the childrens’ parents.
If a grandparent needs a court order to see grandchildren than that extended relationship is dysfunctional to begin with and probably not in the best interest of the children. Barring abuse and neglect ( by legal standards not the grandparents) grandparents shouldn’t have the legal right to interfere in parental decisions just because they would do things differently. JMO.
I believe it depends on the state
In Connecticut, grandparents have legal rights for visitation
In New York, they do not.
(Personal experience, not a lawyer)
In Texas, a court can authorize grandparent visitation of a grandchild if visitation is in the child's best interest, and one of the following circumstances exists:
The parents divorced;
The parent abused or neglected the child;
The parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or died;
A court-order terminated the parent-child relationship; or The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months.
So it sounds like if you are in an intact family and none of the situations mention above exist, the grandparents are SOL...
My daughter and her husband’s mother have some deep problems between them. She’d once said I don’t want my kids around her. What I told her is that regardless of how she feels about her husband’s mother, she shouldn’t keep the children from her, at least in cases of holidays, birthdays, the occasional weekend stay, etc.
She can ‘deprogram’ the kids when they get home if she has to. Otherwise, it would do nothing but create more problems with the grandmother, and even worse problems with her husband.
1. A parent is deceased and visitation granted to the deceased parent's parents would be in the best interests of the child as determined by the court; or
2. The granchild has resided with the grandparent(s) for at least a 12 month period.
These are some of the saddest cases. 99% of the time, the kid loses no matter what.
Unfortunately, I have some experience in this area.
In Texas, grandparents have no inherent legal right to see the grandkids.
Freepmail me if you want more info.
Answer: yes, parents of sound mind get to decide 100% who gets to see their children. Which is as it should be. Sorry if it doesn’t work for you.
I think that the best course of action is highly dependent on the circumstances.
If the grandparents behavior is so outrageous that it becomes a matter of the children’s psychological or physical safety then it is not right to rely on “deprogramming” just to make everyone happy. For example a child witnessing an alcoholic tirade is not easily deprogrammed. Once innocence is lost it can not be recovered. Also undermining parental teachings regarding matters of morality could be confusing to children.
On the other hand if the nature of the disagreements are more personal in nature then your approach would work well. For example if MIL really wanted son to marry someone else.
I am not making a judgment on the advice you gave to your daughter just pointing out that this doesn’t work in every case.
Of course, I agree with you. My advice was based on the underlying problem and knowledge of my SILs mother. My daughter is stubborn - just like me, and she can hold a grudge. If I felt my grand daughters were in danger such as you noted, I would have told her differently.
Depends. On the state. For instance grandparents have visitation rights in NC. I work very hard to maintain a good relationship with my son’s x-wife so I have full access to my grandaughter. It does not hurt that the x-wife fully understands that I have legal rights.
Nope. You have absolute power of your children and assume all responsibility for their actions as well.
The grandparents do not have any privileges, nor does anyone else, cept those you grant.
No one has the authority to undermine how you raise your children.
These initiatives may or may not get a hearing, but action is rarely taken and the bills ultimately pass away.
I present this without comment as to the emotional "right" or "wrong" of what ought to be. Grandparents do not have any rights "we are bound to respect."
And I'm a grandparent, too, by the way.
This is a state by state issue although there is a case, Troxel, which was heard by the Supremes. The statute (I think it was Washington state) was held by the court to be overbroad so that basically anyone, in this case the day care provider, could over ride the parents’ decision to withhold the child. The dissenting (or maybe concurring) opinion by Kennedy laid out how to get a state statute to comply with the constitution and allow grandparents, stepparents and even same sex partners to have continued access to children.
I practice family law in Kansas and have for over 30 years. Here there is a specific statute which has been tested and has held. I allows even the grandparents to have access under certain circumstances even where the parents have not divorced. If, however, the grandparents lose, they have to pay all the fees of the parents so it is not used lightly. It generally turns on whether there are significant contacts between the child and the grandparent or step parent. (no case law here on same sex “parents” and the statute is silent - see my posts however on the Lesbian couple in Topeka and the sperm donor child support issue)
So any grandparent who wants access to his, her grandchild should contact an experienced family law attorney in the court where the child lives. Good luck.
Don’t boo hoo too much for grandparents who don’t get to see their grandkids. There are times when it’s the right thing to do.
I know two families personally where grandpa is a registered sex offender. The children in both cases have decided to err on the side of caution and have kept their kids at a distance.
Correct answer. Sad as the individual cases may be.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.