Grandparent Visitation Rights by State, L-W
Louisiana Grandparents Rights
In the state of Louisiana, three separate statutes govern grandparent visitation rights. The statutes set out a number of situations in which visitation rights can be granted, but the court must use its discretion to determine the best interests of the child
Maine Grandparents Rights
In the state of Maine, a complex set of statutes governs grandparents visitation rights. Furthermore, visitation is based upon one of the grandchild's parents being deceased.
Maryland Grandparents Rights
In Maryland, as in all of the United States, the best interests of the child determine visitation rights; however, in Maryland criteria for determining the best interests are set by case law rather than by statute.
Massachusetts Grandparents Rights
Grandparents may request visitation rights in the state of Massachusetts if the grandchild's parents are divorced or separated, if a parent is deceased, or if the grandchild is born out of wedlock with paternity established. Best interest must be considered, and case law has influenced what determines best interest.
Michigan Grandparents Rights
In the state of Michigan, lengthy statutes were enacted in 2005 to bring their state law in compliance with Troxell v. Granville. The statutes spell out the requirements for grandparents to be awarded what the statutes call "grandparenting time."
Minnesota Grandparents Rights
In the state of Minnesota, the courts must consider the prior grandparent-grandchild relationship when considering visitation, as well as the effect of visitation upon the relationship between the parent and the child.
Mississippi Grandparents Rights
In the state of Mississippi, specific criteria govern grandparent visitation. Statutes govern petitions for visitation rights, and a court case sets out criteria for determining the best interest of the child.
Missouri Grandparents Rights
In the state of Missouri, grandparents may file for visitation rights as part of a divorce action, if one parent is deceased and the other has unreasonably denied visitation or if a parent or parent have unreasonably denied visitation for 90 days or more.
Montana Grandparents Rights
In the state of Montana, any grandparent may file for visitation, but winning visitation becomes more complicated if a parent whose parental rights have not been terminated objects to the visitation. Then the grandparent may have to prove that the parent is unfit.
Nebraska Grandparents Rights
To win grandparent visitation in the state of Nebraska, grandparents must prove that a significant beneficial relationship exists or existed in the past. Grandparents may also have to prove that visitation will not harm the parent-child relationship.
Nevada Grandparents Rights
In the state of Nevada, grandparents may seek visitation if their child who is the parent of the grandchild is deceased or a non-custodial parent. State statute lists factors to be considered in determining the best interests of the child.
New Hampshire Grandparents Rights
In the state of New Hampshire both natural and adoptive grandparents may apply for visitation with grandchildren. New Hampshire lists in its statutes factors to be considered in determining the best interests of the child.
New Jersey Grandparents Rights
The state of New Jersey spells out certain criteria for determining the best interests of the child when considering grandparent visitation. Grandparents who have been full-time caregivers for their grandchildren have some advantage.
New Mexico Grandparents Rights
In the state of New Mexico grandparents can be awarded visitation in a number of different circumstances. Grandparents who have cared for grandchildren may receive special consideration.
New York Grandparents Rights
The state of New York provides for grandparents visitation rights in the case of a deceased parent or other broadly defined circumstances. Legal precedents--what is known as case law--is also important in determining grandparents rights in New York State.
North Carolina Grandparents Rights
The state of North Carolina addresses the issue of grandparent visitation very briefly in two statutes. One concerns including visitation in a custody order, and one is about visitation following adoption.
North Dakota Grandparents Rights
The state of North Dakota provides for visitation by grandparents or great-grandparents if it does not interfere with the parent-child relationship. The court is directed to consider the amount of previous contact between grandparent and grandchild.
Ohio Grandparents Rights
The state of Ohio allows for grandparents and other interested parties to be granted visitation as part of proceedings for divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment, or child support. Ohio statutes list factors that the court should consider when awarding visitation.
Oklahoma Grandparents Rights
The state of Oklahoma has very detailed statutes regarding grandparents visitation; however, visitation will not be awarded if the grandchild resides in an intact family and the parents are opposed to visitation.
Oregon Grandparents Rights
The state of Oregon allows for visitation by any person involved in a child-parent relationship or who has maintained an "ongoing personal relationship" with the child. The standards for proving that such a relationship exists are fairly high.
Pennsylvania Grandparents Rights
The state of Pennsylvania allows visitation or even partial custody if the parents of the grandchild are deceased, divorced or separated, or if the child resided with the grandparent for twelve months or more. Great-grandparents have the same rights as grandparents.
Rhode Island Grandparents Rights
The state of Rhode Island has several conditions for granting grandparent visitation. Rhode Island statutes mandate that a grandparent must have attempted visitation repeatedly with no success before filing for visitation rights, that this failure must be due to parental invention and that visitation is impossible without court intervention.
South Carolina Grandparents Rights
The statutes of the state of South Carolina regarding grandparent visitation contain the standard provisions for the best interest of the child and for considering the prior relationship between grandparent and grandchild. In addition, the courts are instructed to consider whether visitation will interfere with the parent-child relationship.
South Dakota Grandparents Rights
The circuit court of the state of South Dakota can award grandparent visitation with or without a petition by the grandparent. The statutes require findings that a parent has denied visitation and that visitation will not significantly interfere with the parent-child relationship.
Tennessee Grandparents Rights
The statutes of the state of Tennessee regarding grandparent visitation are quite long and detailed. In Tennessee, considerable emphasis is put on the prior relationship between grandparent and grandchild.
Texas Grandparents Rights
The state of Texas allows grandparents reasonable possession of or access to grandchildren under certain circumstances. Generally grandparents need to be the parents of a parent who does not have actual or court-order assess to a child.
Utah Grandparents Rights
The state of Utah bases its grandparent visitation laws on the "rebuttable presumption" that parents make decisions based on the best interest of the child. Thus the grandparent seeking visitation must rebut that presumption. Utah law lists factors to be considered in awarding grandparents visitation rights.
Vermont Grandparents Rights
The state of Vermont provides for grandparent visitation if a parent is deceased, has abandoned a child or is physically or mentally incapable of making decisions about the child. Vermont statutes also list guidelines for determining the best interests of the child.
Virginia Grandparents Rights
The state of Virginia presents a challenge to grandparents as the topic of visitation is addressed along with custody in a lengthy set of statutes. In addition, grandparents in Virginia do not have their own statutes but are grouped with stepparents, blood relatives and other "persons of legitimate interest."
Washington Grandparents Rights
The state of Washington's statutes governing grandparent visitation have been dealt two blows by the courts, leaving the state essentially without any statute. Washington statutes were labeled as "breathtakingly broad" in the landmark Supreme Court case of Troxel v. Granville.
West Virginia Grandparents Rights
The statutes of West Virginia are specific and detailed in describing grandparents visitation rights. Visitation must be in the best interest of the child, and West Virginia statutes list a number of other factors to be considered before grandparent visitation is awarded.
Wisconsin Grandparents Rights
The state of Wisconsin provides for grandparent visitation in three separate statutes, as well as addressing the topic in case law. The complexity of this approach means that grandparents seeking visitation will almost certainly require legal advice before proceeding.
Wyoming Grandparents Rights
The state of Wyoming has two statutes which could pertain to grandparents visitation rights, one that specifies grandparents and one that specifies caregivers, which will include some grandparents. Under both statutes, grandparents must prove that visitation is in the child's best interest and will not impair the rights of the parents.