Little Jimmy has almost lived at his grandparent's house. Grandma teaches him how to cook and Grandpa takes him on adventures around their property. What happens if Grandma and Grandpa get in a fight with Jimmy's parents? Suddenly, Little Jimmy's parents don't want Little Jimmy seeing the grandparents any more. Unfortunately, in the area of Family Law, grandparents have almost no rights when it comes to seeing their grandchild. And, while this may not be fair, considering some of the lengths grandparents go to provide for their grandchildren, it remains the law.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Washington's statute to provide reasonable visitation to grandparents. Troxel v Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000). In this landmark case, the parents of a recently deceased father wanted to see their grandchild. The mother, who didn't actually oppose having the grandparents see the child, did not agree with the proposed visitation. The lower court actually sided with the grandparents and provided for more time that was requested.
The mother appealed. The Supreme Court agreed and ruled that the statute vioalted a parent's fundamental rights to decide what is best for their child. Although a good relationship with extended family is important, the Court did not want to infringe upon a parent's decision on how to raise their child. Obviously, if there are good reasons to remove a child from the parent, changes can be made. At Magnuson Lowell, we can help you with all of these Family Law questions and more.