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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Visitation, Grandparents


Term Definition Visitation, Grandparents - a concept that swept the courts in the 1970s, only to be sharply limited at the end of the century the Supreme Court case Troxel v. Granville.
Application in Divorce Also called Grandparentsí Rights.

In Troxel v. Granville, the court, citing a number of cases under the Fourteenth Amendment, ruled that parent have fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody and control of their children.

In general, courts start with the presumption that the parents’ decision regarding third-party visitation (including grandparents) is the child’s best interests. In practice, this means that grandparents face a difficult task of proving the negative: that a lack of visitation is not in the best interest of the child, or, "even better, will result in harm to the child."

Grandparents bringing action against their adult children in search of visitation rights with grandchildren should carefully consider this decision. The courts are severely limiting or rejecting grandparents’ rights; moreover, the aftermath of this action is likely to be bitter.

Resources: www.aarp.org/life/grandparents Trowel v. Granville, 120 S. Ct. 2054 (2000).

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