Grandparent and Step-Parent Rights
In the discretion of the court, reasonable visitation rights may be granted grandparents, step-parents, and specified relatives of a deceased parent. However, there are Constitutional limitations to these types of orders. If the custodial parent is fit then there is a presumption that they are acting in the best interest of the child. Secondly, the court must also give special weight to that parents determination of what is in the best interest of the child. The court cannot presume that non-parent visits are in the best interest of the child and it must presume that the fit parent is acting in the child’s best interest when making their decision. However, there are instances where the parent is unfit or fit, but the bond between the child and non-parent is so strong that reasonable visitation would be in the best interest. In determining the “fitness” of a parent and the level of a bond between the non-parent and child, the court takes into account many different factors. It is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney that is knowledgeable about non-parent and grandparent rights. Please call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation to determine if your circumstances qualify for non-parent visitation rights.