Grandparents' rights
October 30, 2006 7:20 PM   Subscribe

What legal rights do grandfathers/grandmothers have in the United States?

I'm probably going to be a father in the next few years. I've heard that there is some law where I live (in Colorado) that gives grandfathers and/or grandmothers certain rights, specifically the right to some visitation with their grandchildren. Is this true? What is the extent of these rights? Are there similar laws in other states?
posted by koeselitz to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A lot of states have laws that give grandparents visitation rights in certain circumstances. Normally those rights only manifest when there has been some major family event, e.g., the death of a parent, parental divorce, the grandparent becomes the child's guardian, etc.

You should be able to find a lot of rough information on this sort of thing online. E.g., here's a website with relevant material that appears to be run by a Colorado family lawyer. That kind of information (and my comment here) is of course just general background and not legal advice. If this ever becomes a serious and concrete issue for you, you will definitely want to consult a family lawyer in your jurisdiction.
posted by brain_drain at 7:30 PM on October 30, 2006

Here's an informative article about the Supreme Court's decision in Troxel v. Granville, which limited visitation rights for grandparents.
posted by dshargel at 6:50 AM on October 31, 2006

I'm not sure if things change across state lines, but I've had the following distinction made clear to me by more than one lawyer in MA: visitation rights are rights of the child. Grandparents (for example) do not have "rights" to see a child, it is the child who exercises his/her rights to see the person in question. All this breaks down slightly for an infant, who can't really make his or her wishes known, but my sense is that judges consistently make determinations based on what is in the best interest of the child, and not the adult pursuing visitation.
posted by cocoagirl at 9:25 AM on October 31, 2006

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