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?
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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.
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