The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can be one of the greatest joys for grandparents that has a very positive impact on children’s development. Unfortunately, certain events can affect grandparents’ ability to spend time with their grandchildren. In the event of divorce, a parent’s death, or hostilities between the parties, grandparents may no longer be able to enjoy the time they spend with the grandkids.

While grandparents do not have as many rights to visitation and custody as the child’s parents, Michigan law recognizes grandparents’ rights to petition the court and request grandparenting time when certain conditions are met.

As family law attorneys at Bowden Law, PLLC, we understand how important it is for grandparents to interact with their grandchildren. That is why we are committed to helping grandparents establish their right to visit their grandchildren. From my office in Mount Clemens, Michigan, we provide legal counsel to clients in surrounding areas, including Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

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Grandparents’ Rights in Michigan

The state of Michigan recognizes a grandparent’s right to visitation, which is often referred to as “grandparenting time.” Grandparents may have equal rights regardless of whether they are the parent of the grandchild’s mother or father. Under Michigan law, grandparents can enforce their rights and ask the court to grant visitation if any of the following is true:

  1. The grandchild’s parents have filed for an annulment of their marriage, divorce, or separate maintenance;

  2. The grandchild’s parents are already divorced, legally separated, or their marriage ended through annulment;

  3. The grandparent’s child (the grandchild’s parent) has passed away;

  4. The grandchild’s parents have never entered into a marriage or lived together even though the grandchild’s paternity is established;

  5. Someone other than the grandchild’s parents has “legal custody”;

  6. The grandchild has been removed from their parent’s home; or

  7. The grandparent seeking grandparenting time has provided an established custodial environment for their grandchild (even if that grandparent did not have or does not currently have court-ordered custody of grandchildren).

Even when any of the above-mentioned situations exist, establishing grandparents’ rights may be challenging. That is why it is necessary to contact a grandparents’ rights attorney to help you accomplish your goals and obtain the most favorable outcome possible.

Visitation for Grandparents

Michigan courts tend to presume that a fit parent’s decision regarding grandparenting time is valid. However, there may be a way to overcome the presumption. Once a grandparent petitions the court to obtain visitation with their grandchildren, they must prove that the child’s fit parent did not act in the best interests of the child when they cut off the child from a relationship with the grandparent.

In other words, a grandparent must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that depriving the grandchild of a relationship with the grandparent will be detrimental to the grandchild’s physical, emotional, or mental well-being. Once a grandparent overcomes the presumption, the court will have to decide whether or not it is in the child’s best interests to spend time with the grandparent.

Some of the factors considered by Michigan courts when deciding whether or not a relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild is in the best interest of the child include:

  • The love and affection between the grandparent and their grandchild

  • The emotional ties between the grandparent and their grandchild

  • The role of the grandparent in the grandchild’s life

  • The grandparent’s physical and mental health and moral fitness

  • The grandchild’s expressed preference regarding visitation for grandparents (if the grandchild has been deemed old and mature enough to express their preference in family law matters)

  • Whether there are any hostilities between the grandparents and the grandchild’s parents and the impact of these hostilities on the child’s well-being

  • The grandparent’s willingness to promote and encourage close ties between the grandchild and their parents

  • The grandparent’s history of child neglect and physical, sexual, or emotional abuse affecting any child

  • Reasons behind the parent’s denial of visitation for grandparents

  • Other factors affecting the physical, emotional, or psychological health and well-being of the child

If, after considering the child’s best interests, the court rules in favor of the grandparent, the grandparent will be granted rights to spend time with their grandchild. The amount of time for visitation and the circumstances of the grandparent’s visitation are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Grandparents & Custody
of Grandchildren

Michigan law recognizes a grandparent’s right to request custody of their grandchildren. However, before granting custody to a grandparent, the court will consider the following factors:

  1. The grandparent and parent’s ability to provide the child with necessary food, clothing, education, medical care, and shelter, offer guidance, provide love and affection;

  2. The stability of the grandparent and parent’s home;

  3. The child’s relationship with the grandparent and parent;

  4. Whether there is any history of domestic violence, child neglect, or abuse; and

  5. The physical, emotional, and mental fitness of all the parties involved.

A grandparent can petition the court for custody if they believe that the grandchild’s parents are unfit to raise their children. Seek legal guidance from an experienced attorney to evaluate your particular case and understand your options for enforcing your rights as a grandparent.

Grandparents’ Rights Attorneys Serving
Mount Clemens, Michigan

Often, grandparents face an uphill battle when trying to establish their right to spend time with their grandchildren. Enforcing your rights as a grandparent in Michigan may require the assistance of a skilled family law attorney. At Bowden Law, PLLC, we can examine the facts of your case and help you pursue your rights as a grandparent. We proudly serve clients in Mount Clemens and surrounding areas of Michigan, including Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.