Michigan Court of Appeals Issues Decision Regarding Grandparent Visitation Statute

Category: Divorce & Family Law

Ending 10 years of uncertainty and inconsistent rulings at the trial court level, the Michigan Court Appeals opened the door for grandchildren in the State to have a meaningful relationship with their grandparents. In a decision reached last week, the Court made clear that, indeed, grandparents have the right to file for visitation with their grandchildren. The Court addressed both the procedural and substantive issues that previously made it difficult for judges to rule on these petitions.

First, the Court of Appeals (once and for all) opined that the Michigan Grandparent Visitation statute, MCL 722.27(b), is indeed constitutional.

Second, the Court of Appeals decision in the Granneman (Granneman.pdf) case confirms that the Court need not hear from a mental health professional in order for the court to determine, from the evidence, that to deny grandparent visitation could create a substantial risk of harm to the child’s mental, physical or emotional health.

Third, the Court clarified that there need not be a complete denial of access to the child by the parent before the grandparent can bring their petition to court, something that many trial courts previously required. Now, if a parent merely restricts visitation between the child and the grandparent in a way that can be demonstrated is not in the child’s best interest, then the grandparent may have standing to petition for visitation.

Fourth, the Court of appeals ruled, following a remand from the Michigan Supreme Court, that under appellate court rules, a denial of grandparent visitation at the trial court level is appealable by right, if the order, or denial of an order, affects custody.

This case was argued by Danny R. Victor, formerly a partner at Victor & Victor, PLLC along with his father, Richard S. Victor, Of Counsel to Hertz Schram PC and founder of the national nonprofit Grandparents Rights Organization.

Hertz Schram, with offices in Bloomfield Hills and Detroit, Michigan provides legal counsel and representation to privately owned businesses and individuals. Our Family Law Section, led by Jerry Cavellier represents individuals in all aspects of domestic relations including complex divorce and custody disputes. For more information on this case and on the cases that served as precedent, visit our firm website by CLICKING HERE or contact Jerry Cavellier via email at jcavellier@hertzschram.com.

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