Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Thank you for your question. In 2000, the United States Supreme Court in Troxel v. Granville, No. 99-138 (U.S. 06/05/2000), stated that a parent has a constitutional right to privacy in raising his/her kids and grandparents cannot interfere with that right. More specifically, the Court stated that the parents were not required to provide the grandparent's with visitation.
Since Troxel, many states have tried to carve out exceptions and provide grandparents visitation rights. However, most of these exceptions focus on situations when the parents are unfit and/or when one of the parents has died and the other cannot raise the child.
Based on the facts that you have presented, it appears that the grandparent's are trying to press the issue of visitation.
Without knowing more and based on the Troxel case, generally, without a showing of harm to the child, it appears that the grandparent's rights are severely limited and they have very difficult task in enforcing whatever rights they may have.
Unfortunately -- as I always tell clients -- that in the United States, anyone can bring a lawsuit and even if it has no merit, you have to defend against it. For example, I am in Ohio and if someone sued me in Alaska for a frivolous claim, I would have to defend myself and possibly hire a lawyer.
If the grandparent's have filed pleadings (some type of claim), it would be advisable to hire a local attorney to possibly file a motion to dismiss on legal grounds. Specifically, that the grandparent's do not have the right to force visitation or custody.
Thank you again for your question and feel free to follow up with more facts. Specifically:
-Have the grandparent's claimed that the child is being harmed or in danger?
-Have the grandparent's filed any pleadings and what are they asking for?
-What state has jurisdiction over this case?
I hope you found my answer helpful, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated!
DISCLAIMER (I really don't like this but it is necessary): This response is limited by the information that you have provided to this lawyer. Based on the information you have provided, I have responded based on my knowledge and interpretation of existing laws. It is possible that if the same question was asked to another lawyer, the response could be different. This response is for "Legal Informational" purposes only and should not be confused with "Legal Advice" and nothing in this response should be construed as legal advise for any individual case. Under no circumstances does this response directly or indirectly, establish or intend to establish an Attorney-Client relationship. This response is not and shall not be construed as a solicitation for the legal services of any attorney. If you have already retained a lawyer in connection with this inquiry and this fact is unknown to this lawyer, this response should not be construed as impending and/or interfering with your attorney-client relationship with such attorney.
This information is limited in scope and is confined to the question asked and should not be relied upon to provide a comprehensive picture of any particular situation and you are strongly encouraged to seek counsel for further course of action, if applicable. In other words, this response is not intended nor shall it be construed as providing you with all the information that your legal questions/issues may require. If you do require legal advice and retention/hiring of an attorney, I encourage you to consult an attorney who is actively engaged in the practice of law in the area of law relevant to your legal questions/issues and who is admitted to the bar or lawyer licensing agency in your jurisdiction(s) or the jurisdiction(s) that has jurisdiction over your legal questions/issues. This attorney is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this response, whether from errors or omissions in the content of the response or any other sites that I may provide to you for reference.
Thank you for the follow up. For informational purposes, In Ex parte State, 826 So.2d 178 (Ala.Civ.App. 01/29/2002), an Alabama Court of Appeal stated that grandparents have limited rights in seeking visitation and custody. However, in most of the cases I have seen, the parent's are usually prevailing.
This area of law is constantly changing and I will follow up with more information.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).