The time a child may spend with grandparents or others they have had a close parent-like relationship with
Grandparents, who have maintained a close relationship with a child, may petition to the court to ask for reasonable visitation when they face the difficult situation of not being able to see their grandchild. There are certain requirements to make a grandparent visitation case and we can look at the facts of your situation and determine if you should proceed with an action. You may have read about the 2019 Wisconsin Supreme Court case where the Court decided that while grandparents still have a right to ask the court to order visitation, the Court determined that the grandparent must prove, with clear and convincing evidence, that the fit parent’s decision regarding the grandparent visitation was not in the child’s best interest. What this means is that the Court placed the highest burden of proof on grandparents to show that the decision of a fit parent regarding visitation is not in the best interests of the child. This 2019 decision certainly doesn’t make it impossible for grandparents to petition the court for visitation, but it does place a higher burden of proof on a grandparent to show the court that there are grounds to set aside a fit parent’s decision against allowing a grandparent to have visitation.
Sometimes these matters can also be addressed in mediation. This is an option parties should be sure to consider prior to initiating legal action. Sometimes a process that allows parties to “clear the air” and discuss when and how a grandparent will spend time with a child can be very effective and beneficial to all parties.
Stepparent and Third-Party Visitation
Just like grandparents in the paragraph above, a stepparent or person who has maintained a close relationship similar to that of a parent-child relationship, may petition the court for reasonable visitation rights.