Grandparents rights in Michigan

grandparents rightsGrandparents in Michigan are entitled to grandparents custody and visitation under certain circumstances, but their rights may be subject to parental consent.

Primarily, it is the child’s parents’ decision to determine whether a grandparent may visit with a child or not. Most often, grandparents will need to assert their rights only if they have been denied visitation by a child’s parents or custodian. Grandparents’ rights must serve the best interests of the child.

If the child’s parent, who is related to the grandparent, is deceased, grandparent may petition the court for grandparenting time. A court will prefer to award custody or visitation of a child to a biological family member, so grandparents may stand a good chance of continuing a meaningful relationship with their grandchild, so long as they can prove the existence of a relationship prior to their child’s death.

In Michigan, if grandparents would like to seek meaningful time with a child, they would need to prove that a divorce, annulment or maintenance of a child’s parents proceeding is in process in a Michigan court, the child’s parents are already divorced or the marriage has been annulled.

With the approval of both parents, a Michigan court may consider awarding grandparenting time. The court may inquire into the effect of hostility of the child’s grandparent and the child’s parents on the child to determine whether or not to award grandparenting time.

If parents object to grandparenting time, grandparents may still spend time with their grandchildren if they can prove the child will be in physical, emotional or mental danger, if the court does not award grandparenting time. Grandparents should be prepared to provide any evidence of potential danger to the child at a court hearing. Based on potential danger to a child, a Michigan court may award grandparenting time.

If the child has been living with the grandparents and they have acted as primary custodians to the child, a Michigan court will consider awarding grandparenting time. A family court in Michigan may inquire into the child’s preference, the love, affection and emotional ties between the grandparents and the grandchild and the grandparents’ willingness to encourage a close relationship between the child and the child’s parents.

Although as always it will be difficult to obtain grandparents rights to a grandchild without parental consent, grandparents may assert their rights if the child’s parents die, the parents’ divorce, the child is in danger or the grandparent has previously had primary custody of the child.

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