As a grandparent, watching your grandchildren grow and flourish is one of the most joyful parts of life. When your child and their significant other terminate their relationship, however, child custody can become a major issue, with visitation rights between the parents a focal point. Often times though, a grandparent’s right to see his or her grandchildren can get lost in the shuffle.
What the North Dakota Supreme Court Says
In 2014, the North Dakota Supreme Court made an extremely important ruling regarding the matter of grandparent’s visitation rights. In short, the Court ruled that fit parents do not need to allow grandparent visits if they do not want to allow them. The Court stated that when it comes to child custody and visitation, grandparents do not have the same rights as the parents. Parents deemed fit to care for their children by the courts are presumed to be acting in the best interests of their children. If fit parents do not wish to allow their children to see their grandparents, the court assumes that there is a reasonable and logical reason for this and will deny visitation for the grandparents if the matter is brought to court.
Can I Not Visit My Grandchild with the Parent’s Permission?
Even though the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that fit parents do not need to allow visitation with grandparents, grandparents can still bring a visitation request to the courts. If the court, through evidence, sees that grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the child or children, then visitation may be granted. Important factors in determining visitation include the amount of personal contact that the grandparents had with the grandchildren and with their parents prior to the grandparents’ action for visitation.
What if My Child Died and the Spouse Will Not Allow Visitation?
Again, this is a matter left to the district courts. A request would have to be placed within the court system in order to receive visitation rights. The same goes when stepparents have adopted a child. The court, like always, will look into what the best interests of the children in question are and make its decision based on that. However, in North Dakota, grandparents do not have the right to request visitation if their grandchildren have been adopted by someone besides a stepparent or another grandparent. Unless visitation rights were granted before the adoption, the adoption itself cuts off any rights the grandparents would have had.
The North Dakota family law attorneys of O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss will help you fight for your rights as a grandparent. Tracy Lyson is an experienced family law attorney and will fight for your rights as passionately as you would. Call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002 today!