Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pending Indiana Legislation - Grandparent and Great-Grandparent Visitation

The Indiana General Assembly has finally recognized that we now have great-grandparents young enough (or even still living) to be involved with their great-grandchildren.

House Bill 1055:

"Grandparent and great-grandparent visitation. Allows great-grandparents to seek visitation rights with their great-grandchildren in certain circumstances. Allows a grandparent or great- grandparent to seek visitation if the grandparent or great-grandparent has had meaningful contact with the child but, as a result of an estrangement between the parent of the child and the grandparent or great-grandparent, the parent of the child terminated the child's visits with the grandparent or great-grandparent. Establishes factors for the court to consider in determining whether granting a grandparent or great-grandparent visitation rights is in the best interests of the child. Provides that a court may order a party to an action for grandparent or great-grandparent visitation to pay a reasonable amount for the cost to the other party of maintaining or defending the action, including costs for attorney's fees and mediation. Specifies that certain agencies are not required to pay costs. Makes conforming changes."
Reading the statute, I can only describe what is being thought of here consists of only adding great-grandparent to the existing grandparent's visitation statute. From its structure, I do not see that prior case law shall be greatly affected - even with the addition of best interest factors - since we will still need to deal with Troxell v. Washington. (But what of a case where grandparents and great-parents both - all? - have visitation rights and no one can agree on scheduling? Well, that is how judges earn their salaries.)

1 comment:

Jeanne M. Hannah said...

Sam, I have some major problems with the proposed Indiana grandparenting time statute. I have discussed them at length on my blog Updates in Michigan Family Law: Grandparent visitation | To be or not to be?

Jeanne M. Hannah