Grandparent Visitation Rights

Michigan Grandparent Visitation Attorneys

     The inherent ability of Grandparents to have the right to visit their grand children after a divorce proceeding is a very complex legal issue. The Michigan Child Custody Act of 1970 originally had no mention of a Grandparent Visitation clause, or even thought of including one. In 1971, almost a year after the MCCA was ratified, a Grandparent Visitation statute was enacted. This statute was very limited in its original form, providing for visitation from a grandparent only if the grandchild's parent was the Grandparent's child and the parent of the grandchild was now deceased.

Grandparent Visitation Today

        Since 2003 Grandparents are no longer afforded grandparenting time simply because the court feels it is in the best interests of the child. Today a Grandparent must meet certain criteria before they are even allowed to petition a Court for visitation with their grandchild(ren).

     According to MCL 722.27b a grandparent may request visitation under the following circumstances:

(a) An action for divorce, separate maintenance, or annulment involving the child's parents is pending before the court.


(b) The child's parents are divorced, separated under a judgment of separate maintenance, or have had their marriage annulled.


(c) The child's parent who is a child of the grandparents is deceased.


(d) The child's parents have never been married, they are not residing in the same household, and paternity has been established by the completion of an acknowledgment of parentage under the acknowledgment of parentage act, 1996 PA 305, MCL 722.1001 to 722.1013, by an order of filiation entered under the paternity act, 1956 PA 205, MCL 722.711 to 722.730, or by a determination by a court of competent jurisdiction that the individual is the father of the child.


(e) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (13), legal custody of the child has been given to a person other than the child's parent, or the child is placed outside of and does not reside in the home of a parent.


(f) In the year preceding the commencement of an action under subsection(3) for grandparenting time, the grandparent provided an established custodial environment for the child as described in section 7, whether or not the grandparent had custody under a court order.

 

It is only under these circumstances that a Grandparent is allowed to petition the court for visitation. Nevertheless, simply meeting one or more of the requirements does not guarantee that a they will be granted visitation. There is a presumption that a fit parent’s decision to deny visitation does not substantially risk harm to the mental, physical or emotional well being of a child. As a result, it is up to the Grandparents to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that denial of visitation will create a substantial risk of harm to the mental, physical or emotional well being of a child. If a grandparent meets the burden of proof, there is yet one more hurdle before visitation can be granted. The court must also find that it is in the best interests of the child to enter an order for grandparenting time. In making a determination of the “best interests” of a child the court will consider the following factors pursuant to MCL 722.27b(6):

(a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the grandparent and the child.


(b) The length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the grandparent, the role performed by the grandparent, and the existing emotional ties of the child to the grandparent.


(c) The grandparent's moral fitness.


(d) The grandparent's mental and physical health.


(e) The child's reasonable preference, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.


(f) The effect on the child of hostility between the grandparent and the parent of the child.


(g) The willingness of the grandparent, except in the case of abuse or neglect, to encourage a close relationship between the child and the parent or parents of the child.


(h) Any history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect of any child by the grandparent.


(i) Whether the parent's decision to deny, or lack of an offer of, grandparenting time is related to the child's well-being or is for some other unrelated reason.


(j) Any other factor relevant to the physical and psychological well-being of the child.
 

In many circumstances Grandparents are an essential part of the life of a child. Obtaining Grandparent visitation is a complicated process and it is extremely important that you contact a knowledgeable and aggressive attorney to assist you.

 

If you would like to have a consultation with an experienced postnuptial attorney, kindly contact The Cutler Law Firm at 248-489-8780 or complete THE CONTACT FORM and an Attorney will promptly respond to your inquiry.

The Holographic Will
When is a suicide note, more than a goodbye message to the world? I have had the pleasure of assisting a few clients during a very difficult time in their lives. They had a relative take their life, or seemingly take their own life, leaving behind a handwritten note that describes the manner in which they want their Estate to be distributed to their heirs. Consider the following cases: Case #1: A gentleman marries his long term girlfriend, with whom he has experienced an up and down relationship. Within days of their Las Vegas wedding, she takes off on a party filled trip with her girl friends and others. The gentleman continues to work while she is away, and after a while, decides to rent a room in a local hotel. He ingests a large volume of prescription and non-prescription drugs, and begins to write out a 5 page note detailing the problems in his life. He also expresses his desire to leave his 5 rental homes to his two biological children (from a prior marriage), his car and a few other items to his only brother, and SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES HIS NEW WIFE from receiving any of his worldly belongings. I represented the brother, and worked with an attorney who represented the children. The wife attempted to secure all of the assets and burn through the funds. Fortunately, my client became suspicious and hired our firm to investigate the matter. Following a limited time for discovery, and a complete handwriting analysis, the case was presented for trial. Four days of witness testimony and dozens of documents, convinced the court to rule that the gentleman's handwritten note constituted a holographic will. The homes were secured, sold and the assets then deposited into trust accounts for the children. The wife was barred from accessing any additional money, and was physically evicted from the marital home. The legal requirements for Holographic are specific, but include the general concept of a written note by the declarant, that is dated and signed. In our case, the paperwork was not dated. We were able to arrive at the date through other evidence that was compelling to the Court. Case #2: An elderly man is taken to the hospital. His wife is to frail to join him, and remains home. When he recovers and returns to the home, he discovers his wife dead. A gun lies on the floor, and a bullet traveled through her scull. A note is discovered in her pocket, leaving their entire estate to the dead wife's sisters. As the couple have no children, their estate would have passed to their siblings. Following a series of Court hearings, the hand writing analysis confirms that the note was not written by the deceased woman. We believe that her sisters wrote the note and then shot their sister. Fortunately, the sisters are now excluded from the Estate. Criminal charges may be pending.
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