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Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Michigan?

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Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Michigan?

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Michigan?

by Van Den Heuvel Law Office

It was once impossible for grandparents to petition the court for child custody in the event that the parents of the child got a divorce. In 2005, however, the Michigan legislature signed the Grandparent Visitation Bill into law. The new law allows for grandparents, under certain circumstances, to request visitation time. Unfortunately, doing so is not easy. A Michigan family lawyer can help grandparents that want to spend time with their grandchild understand their rights.

When Can Grandparents Seek Visitation From the Court?

Grandparents cannot always petition the court for visitation time with their grandchildren. In Michigan, grandparents can only do this when:

  • A child’s parents are getting a divorce, separation, or annulment, or have already gone through the process,
  • A child was born out of wedlock and the parents do not cohabitate together, but the father has been legally declared the biological father and pays child support,
  • Someone else has legal custody of the child and is not the parent or a stepparent that has adopted the child, or
  • The grandparent has cared for the child during the previous year for any one reason

When these circumstances apply and a grandparent wants to petition the court for visitation, it is important to understand the proper procedure to follow.

How to Get Visitation as a Grandparent

When a grandparent is considered legally able to request visitation, they can file a motion with the court and ask a judge to grant the request. In these matters, the court assumes that if a fit parent has denied visitation to a grandparent, they made the decision with the child’s best interests in mind. 

When filing a motion with the court, the grandparent has the burden to overcome the court’s assumption. To do this, the grandparent must show that the child will suffer mental, emotional, or physical harm if they cannot spend time with the grandparent.

In the event that a child has two fit parents, they can each file an affidavit that denies the grandparent’s request for visitation. In these cases, a judge will dismiss the motion without holding a hearing on the matter.

Petitioning the court for grandparent visitation is not easy. The most common reason for requesting visitation from the courts as a grandparent is when one or both of the child’s parents have passed away. Any time a grandparent wants to petition the court, they should speak to a Michigan family lawyer for help with their case.

Our Michigan Family Lawyers are Here to Help

Grandparents in Michigan have rights, and it is important to know how to uphold those rights. At Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our experienced family lawyers in Michigan can help you petition the court, prove that you deserve visitation, and give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys and to learn more about how we can help with your case.

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