Woman jailed for defying grandparent visitation rights

A woman in Minnesota's neighboring state of North Dakota has been jailed for attempting to circumvent visitation orders that would allow her parents unsupervised time with her young daughter. In this update to the story we brought you in early September, the 32-year-old woman still refuses to accept the court orders, which require her to surrender custody of her child to her parents at specific times as part of a grandparents' visitation plan.

In this case, the woman has chosen to risk her mortgage and her job, staying in jail for contempt of court because she refuses to agree to the visitation plan. She claims that she has concrete reasons for keeping her child away from her parents. The child's mother alleges that sexual abuse occurred within her family, and she will not put her daughter at risk. An earlier investigation into the matter did not yield enough evidence to pursue abuse charges within the family, largely because one of the alleged victims stopped cooperating with police.

This particular situation comes on the heels of another controversial ruling in Grand Forks in September, when a judge ordered a couple to allow visitation from their children's grandparents, even though they thought the visits would not be in their kids' best interest. The judge in the case said that state law permits grandparent visitation as long as it is deemed beneficial for the children. Attorneys say that this most recent case has opened up grandparents' rights, a positive move that will help keep families together.

Still others, like the woman who sits in jail without an attorney, argue that the courts cannot always understand their reasons for opposing such visitation orders. This is, indeed, a controversial issue that must first consider the best interests of the child. Even if a child's parent has a personal vendetta against the grandparents, those older relatives still deserve the right to spend time with their younger family members.

www.perhamfocus.com, "Fargo woman jailed for refusing to allow parents unsupervised visitation with 7-year-old" No author given, Oct. 17, 2013

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