When families split up, life changes for Mom, Dad, and the kids. Oftentimes, life changes for grandparents and step-parents, too. They may find it’s more difficult to spend time with kids they love. Worse yet, the child is deprived of a trusted and healthy adult relationship the child needs. Unfortunately, grandparents and step-parents may not see the kids anymore. To prevent this from happening, the adult in question can petition the court for visitation rights.
Grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, and people with a like-parent relationship often don’t pursue court action to secure visitation rights. They let it be, and it’s a little sad.
Securing visitation rights
Securing visitation rights is a two-step process.
- First, a person must prove his or her relationship with the child.
- Second, the court determines if visitation is in the child’s best interest.
Grandparents, step-parents, like-parents
Wisconsin Statute 767.43 outlines visitation rights for grandparents, great-grandparents, and step-parents. The statute also pertains to people who maintained a relationship similar to a parent-child relationship. These individuals are required to supply evidence of this close relationship. Step-parents, former step-parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are automatically covered by the statute. They don’t have to prove that they maintained a like-parent relationship with the child.
Estranged family members
Here’s how this might play out:
- Sally has recently given birth to a baby
- Paternity action starts
- Jimmy is the dad
- Due to the bad break-up between Sally and Jimmy, Sally refuses to let Jimmy or anyone in his family see the baby
- Jimmy’s mom seeks visitation rights
- The court determines if it’s in the child’s best interest to spend time with grandma
Timing for court action
The issue of timing should be considered when looking starting a visitation rights action. Typically, this sort of action cannot be taken against a family that is not subject to a family court proceeding. For example, if the mom and dad are married and the parents decide to estrange themselves from the child’s grandparents, then there is little the grandparents can do about the situation. However, if the parents have an existing family court action, then there is the possibility to obtain visitation with the child.
Certainly, working with a Family Law attorney is good idea when seeking visitation rights. An attorney can form a legal argument and present a strong case to a Family Court commissioner or judge. For legal assistance regarding visitation rights or other Family Law concerns, contact me for a free consultation.
About Us: Attorney Devin Shanley is the approachable expert clients can trust. A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Devin has been developing legal solutions in his beloved hometown since 2012. Married to Mo and dad to two rambunctious kids, he has a soft spot for the Green Bay Packers, grilling out, and playing with his kids. His areas of practice are Estate Planning, Family Law, Business Law, and Non-Profit Organization Law. Schedule your free consultation by calling 920-471-4337.