Attorneys and family experts report that cases of grandparents suing for the right to see their grandchildren have grown partly because of rising divorce rates. Many grandparents have appealed for visitation when a former daughter — or son-in-law — has prohibited them to see the grandchildren.
In North Dakota, a court must grant visitation rights unless the court determines that visitation would not be in the child’s best interest. The amount of contact between the child, the grandparent, and the parent are issues to be weighed when determining the child’s best interest.
A North Dakota couple is objecting to a family law ruling giving the parents the right to spend time with their grandchildren. The grandparents have sued their son and the children’s mother after a former mediation attempt to work out visitation had been unsuccessful.
A local judge issued an order to the parents of the children to allow their oldest daughter to visit her grandparents when she wants to, including overnight visits. The 16-year-old granddaughter had lived with her grandparents for a year and a half while her father served time for a drug conviction. The court mandate also required that the grandparents be allowed to spend at least four hours with the older 16-year-old girl and the two younger children on the children’s and the grandparents’ birthdays, as well as on Grandparents’ Day, Easter Sunday, five days over the summer, three days during Christmas and one day over Thanksgiving.
The parents are appealing specifics in the court order. The parents feel that they should be the sole authority for what is in the best interests of their children. Over the past two decades, these often acrimonious cases have flowed into courtrooms, causing each state to develop laws to decide how and when grandparents and others can seek visitation. At issue is whether fit parents can be forced by law to allow grandparents visits with the children. Whether grandparents find themselves in a situation where they must establish formal, legal rights to a child, or if the grandparent merely wants to visit with their grandchildren, they will often need an experienced North Dakota family law attorney to help them navigate the legal system.
minotdailynews.com, “ND grandparents sue to visit their grandchildren” No author given, Aug. 26, 2013