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Michigan Grandparents' Rights

New Laws Enacted After Troxel v. Granville



Michigan has addressed grandparent visitation rights at great length.

Image © State of Michigan

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, 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 parents" file an affidavit opposing grandparenting time, the court may not award visitation. This provision does not apply if one of the parents is a stepparent who has adopted the child, and the grandparent is the natural or adoptive parent of a deceased parent or a parent whose parental rights have been terminated.

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.

Adoption terminates visitation rights unless the adopting party is a stepparent.

See Michigan law.

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