Custody decisions in a divorce can be very nerve wracking, especially for the parents of each spouse. Grandparents can play such a big role in their families lives, and when a marriage starts to fail, the outcome can hit them just as hard as it does children.
Grandparents can be a source of great support and love for children during a difficult time such as this. But after a divorce is final, and child custody has been decided, some grandparents may find they’ve been cut out of their grandchildren’s lives. If this has happened to you, you should know that, under Michigan law, you have a legal right to ask to be granted visitation, known as “grandparenting time.” Both maternal and paternal grandparents have this right.
To receive grandparenting time, you can file a motion with the court, and a judge will rule on your request. A second option is to file a complaint, in which case you choose to begin a lawsuit. There are some extenuating circumstances, however. In Michigan, grandparents must overcome a hefty burden proving that spending time with them is in the best interest of the child. It begins with the assumption that to deny visitation to grandparents doesn’t put grandchildren at risk for emotional distress.
A judge will consider the length and quality of the relationship between grandparent and child, the grandparent’s mental and physical health, and their moral disposition. The relationship between parent and grandparent is examined as well, and the child’s preference will also be taken into account.
This can be a complicated and lengthy process, but when you work with a skilled attorney, it can go much more smoothly. As an experienced divorce attorney, I know how important relationships between grandparents and grandchildren are. If a custody decision is preventing you from spending time with your grandchildren, contact me today to request a consultation.