Michigan Grandparent Rights and Guardianship Attorney

Protecting Children and Defining Grandparent Rights

At McGuigan Law, PLLC, we understand the critical role that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. While the bond between grandparent and a child may be founded on a uniquely close and loving relationship, there are situations where the opportunity to share time with one’s grandchildren may be compromised. One of the parents may be determined to be unfit, which may result in custody being awarded solely to the other parent. An even more problematic scenario may occur when the custodial parent passes away, and both the custodial parent and grandchild resided with the parents of the parent who has passed away.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court in Troxel vs. Granville ruled that courts must defer to the preference of a fit parent with regard to visitation by a non-parent, including a grandparent. Michigan’s grandparent’s visitation statute is even more restrictive regarding the visitation rights of grandparents. The statute only allow grandparents to petition for visitation under certain narrow circumstances and establishes a strong presumption against grandparent visitation if it is over the objection of a fit custodial parent as set forth below:

"In order to give deference to the decisions of fit parents, it is presumed in a proceeding under this subsection that a fit parent's decision to deny grandparenting time does not create a substantial risk of harm to the child's mental, physical, or emotional health. To rebut the presumption created in this subdivision, a grandparent filing a complaint or motion under this section must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the parent's decision to deny grandparenting time creates a substantial risk of harm to the child's mental, physical, or emotional health. If the grandparent does not overcome the presumption, the court shall dismiss the complaint or deny the motion."

While the Michigan grandparents’ visitation statute establishes a substantial evidentiary burden for grandparents that are seeking visitation, there are cases where neither parent is fit or available to care of one’s grandchildren. A common scenario might involve a situation where the mother is the custodial parent (i.e. the parent with whom the child lives) and is divorced from the father. The father may have a substance abuse problem, history of domestic violence, or prior pattern of child abuse or neglect. The mother and grandchildren may even reside in the home of the maternal grandparents. Michigan’s law governing grandparent access is intended to protect the judgment of fit parents so where there is a legitimate issue regarding the fitness of a parent, experienced Michigan guardianship attorney Don McGuigan may be able to represent you in filing a petition for guardianship in probate court.

As a grandparent, Mr. McGuigan understands the importance of your relationship to your grandchildren and works diligently to preserve the close bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. Mr. McGuigan can advise you regarding your rights as a grandparent as well as the best strategy for obtaining access to your grandchildren or seeking a guardianship. We offer a free consultation and can meet with you in our Southland office, or we also have meeting facilities available for the convenience of clients residing in Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, Washtenaw and Macomb counties.

© 2018 McGuigan Law, PLLC | Disclaimer
24750 Lahser Road, Southfield, MI 48033
| Phone: 248-356-9100

Family Law | Child Custody | Child Support | Divorce | Divorce Mediation | Legal Separation | Parenting Time | Property Division | Spousal Support | Other Practice Areas | | Attorney Profile | Firm Overview

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative

© McGuigan Law, PLLC | Disclaimer | Law Firm Website Design by Amicus Creative
24750 Lahser Road, Southfield, MI 48033 | Phone: 248-356-9100