Following the U.S. Supreme Court finding in Troxel v. Granville, the Michigan Supreme Court in the 2003 case of Derose v. Derose declared its grandparent visitation law unconstitutional. New laws were passed in 2005. These laws are lengthy and detailed.
According to the new statutes, Michigan courts may award visitation, called “grandparenting time”, to grandparents if the parents of the grandchild are divorced, separated or have had their marriage annulled, or if such an action is pending. In addition, grandparents may receive visitation if a parent is deceased, if the child’s parents are unmarried but paternity has been established or if custody of the child has been given to a third party. In the case of unmarried parents, paternal grandparents may request visitation only if the father has provided “substantial and regular support or care.” In addition, if “two fit biological parents” file an affidavit opposing grandparenting time, the court may not award visitation.
Michigan law also provides criteria for determining the best interest of the child, including the emotional ties between grandparent and grandchild, the prior relationship, the grandparent’s “moral fitness,” the grandparent’s physical and mental health, any history of abuse of any child by the grandparent and any other factors affecting the child’s well-being. In addition, the court must consider the effect on the child of any hostility existing between grandparent and parent and the willingness of the grandparent to support the parent-child relationship.
In Michigan many grandparents believe there is a right they have simply by the way of the biological connection to the child. Of course in many, not all, cases it is best for the child to have some relationship with grandparents, but the law is very strict when it comes to grandparents rights.
Some grandparents have been known to use the probate courts see their grandchildren by trying to show the parents are unfit. These types of cases should only be addressed using an attorney as there are risk of losing parental custody rights. An attorney at the Heisler Law Group can asset with these types of cases at all levels, representing parents or grandparents.