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Court rules in favor of grandparent access to child custody

Grandparents whose children divorce are often left without access to their Minnesota grandchildren. Even if the family is not going through a split, grandparents can still be shut out of their young relatives' lives. A series of recent rulings throughout the nation are clarifying grandparents' role in the realm of child custody, and a high court in one nearby state is contributing to that effort. The Michigan Supreme Court has issued a ruling in favor of two grandparents who had been seeking inclusion in a child custody arrangement.

That state Supreme Court reversed a lower court's decision to refuse the grandparents' visitation. In this case, the grandparents' son had his parental rights terminated before his death. That man's wife has been refusing the grandparents access to their young relatives. The grandparents said that taking the matter to court has been an arduous process, but it seemed like the most reliable way to determine whether their visitation was in the best interests of the child.

The couple's son committed suicide in April 2011, shortly after his parental rights were terminated. The man had been convicted of child abuse. As a result, the children's mother has attempted to prevent the grandparents from accessing her children, ages 5 and 6, because she fears for their safety. The grandparents want to see their younger relatives at least one weekend each month.

The ruling should be considered a big win for grandparents throughout the state, as it is a published opinion that sets precedent for future cases. The grandparents' time in court is not over yet, however; they must now return to a lower court for custody proceedings to determine how their legal rights will be exercised. Grandparents throughout the state will now enjoy more potential access to their grandchildren thanks to the legal precedent set by these persistent relatives.

Source: MLive, "Michigan Supreme Court sides with Saginaw grandparents in their bid for visitation rights" Andy Hoag, Apr. 23, 2014

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