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Supreme Court declines grandparents' visitation case

Photo of Karen Lavin

As many Illinois residents know, child-related legal matters can be very exhausting. Specifically, issues surrounding custody and visitation can disrupt an entire family. In recent news, the Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from grandparents who wanted a court order for visitation rights with their grandchildren.

The issue was what standard judges should apply in deciding whether to grant visitation rights to grandparents. In some states, grandparents must show the parents are unfit. However, other states only require that the grandparents prove that visits would be in the grandchildren's best interests. Nineteen states have the more flexible rule.

In the recent case, the grandparents and the parents initially had a close relationship. The grandparents participated in the lives of two granddaughters, who were born in 1996 and 1997. However, when the family business failed, the matter caused strain on the family relationship. The families sought counseling; however, the parents ultimately ended all contact between the grandparents and children. A court permitted visitation rights in 2008; however, the state appeals court and state Supreme Court ruled for the parents' rejection of visitation.

Visitation and custody laws can be extremely complex. Furthermore, the result of these legal decisions can severely affect a child's life. However, every state encompasses different laws regarding child-related legal matters. As a result, if you are confronting a family issue, you may want to speak to a well-informed attorney. He or she can guide you on the relevant and current laws.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "US top court won't hear grandparents visitation case," James Vicini, Feb. 21, 2012

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