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Cases of Interest: Grandparent's Rights
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ARIZONA: McGovern v. McGovern, No. 2-CA-CV-01-0016 (Ariz. Ct. App. Oct. 10, 2001).
The grandparents appealed a judgment denying their request to obtain visitation with their granddaughter. The court held that the Arizona grandparent visitation statute was constitutional, as it had a number of safeguards for the parents.
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KANSAS: Skov v. Wicker, No. 85,916 (Kan. Oct. 19, 2001).
The application of Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-1616(b) (Supp. 2000), with no limitations on granting grandparents visitation, violates a parent's fundamental right to custody, care, and control of his or her child under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
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KANSAS: In re Interest of T.A., No. 86,550 (Kan. Ct. App. Dec. 21, 2001).
The appellate court reversed the decision of the trial court granting the paternal grandparents visitation on a schedule other than that offered by the mother. Citing Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), and Kansas Dep't of SRS v. Paillet, 270 Kan. 646, 16 P.3d 962 (2001).
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MASSACHUSETTS: Enos v. Correia, 38 Mass. App. Ct. 318, ___ N.E.2d ___ (1995).
IOWA: In re Mitchell, 21 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1314 (Iowa 1995).

Two recent cases have considered the question of standing in grandparent visitation cases. In the first case, the maternal grandmother sought visitation of her granddaughter pursuant to the Massachusetts grandparent visitation statute.
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MICHIGAN: Heltzel v. Heltzel, No. 97-000316-DM (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 23, 2001).
The mother appealed the award of physical and joint legal custody of her child to her parents, the child's maternal grandparents. The question presented was whether the trial court erroneously assigned to the mother the burden to prove that the child's placement with her was in the child's best interests.
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MINNESOTA: Olson v. Olson, 534 N.W.2d 547 (Minn. 1995).
The maternal grandparent petitioned the court for visitation with her granddaughter after the custodial mother refused visitation. The court of appeals held that where a grandparent's own child, the parent of the grandchild, objects to visitation, the grandparent has no standing to request visitation.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Fisher v. Fisher, ___ N.C. App. ___, 477 S.E.2d 251 (1996).
NEW HAMPSHIRE: O'Brien v. O'Brien, ___ N.H. ___, 684 A.2d 1352 (1996).
CONNECTICUT: Castagno v. Wholean, 239 Conn. 336, 684 A.2d 1181, 1191 (1996).
TENNESSEE: McVay v. Blen, 23 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1182 (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 13, 1997).
NORTH DAKOTA: Peterson v. Peterson, 23 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1200 (N.D. Feb. 12, 1997).
IOWA: McMain v. Iowa District Court for Polk County, 23 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1219 (Iowa Feb. 19, 1997).
The pendulum continues to swing in the direction of parents' rights and away from grandparents' rights, especially where there is an intact family. Six cases in the last four months demonstrate the courts' renewed interest in protecting parents' fundamental liberty interests over grandparents' asserted visitation rights.
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