Grandparents’ Rights

Milwaukee Family Law Attorneys Help Grandparents Obtain Visitation

As a grandparent, what rights are you entitled to under Wisconsin law?

In addition to the parents, a child is often loved and cared for by a number of relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  The grandparent-grandchild relationship is a special one, and, so long as maintaining it is in the best interests of the child, many judges will award visitation to a grandparent who seeks it. At Bandle & Zaeske, LLC, our family law attorneys have secured visitation rights for grandparents throughout Wisconsin.

Wisconsin courts previously required that a grandparent prove that the grandparent maintained a parent-child relationship with the child in order to seek visitation. However, according to Wisconsin Statute 767.43(3), grandparent visitation may now be awarded where the grandparent has maintained a relationship with the child or has been prevented from doing so by one of the child’s parents. Typically, this law comes into play after the parents’ marriage has ended, or after one parent has passed away. The grandparent must also demonstrate that awarding visitation would be in the best interests of the grandchild.

Seeking visitation

If you have maintained a relationship with a grandchild, what steps do you need to take to increase the chances of being awarded visitation in court? First, you need to gather evidence that documents proof of your relationship with your grandchild. This may be in the form of:

  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Photographs (such as of various outings, vacations, dinners, etc.)
  • Videos
  • Social media content
  • Any notes you have that document time you spent with your grandchild

Organize these documents and present them to your attorney. Your attorney uses these items to build your case to support your request for visitation.

When a parent denies a grandparent visitation

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that parents have a constitutional right to direct the upbringing of their children, so, unless a compelling case is made, most courts will not interfere with parents’ decisions. One of the factors the court will examine is whether a parent has prevented a grandparent from maintaining a relationship with a grandchild. Typically, being denied a visit here and there will not be viewed as preventing a relationship. However, if there has been a pattern of regularly denying visits to the grandparent, the grandparent may have a case for seeking visitation through the court system. Courts will examine the nature of the relationship, the number of times the visits have been denied, and the parent’s reasoning for denying the visits.

If you are trying to secure visitation with your grandchildren, contact our experienced Wisconsin family law attorneys for a free consultation.

If you have grandchildren and have been denied visitation with them, you may be able to seek visitation rights. At Bandle & Zaeske, our Wisconsin family law attorneys offer a free consultation for your convenience to discuss your relationship with your grandchildren. We proudly serve Washington County, Ozaukee County, and Waukesha County. To schedule your free consultation, call (414) 359-1424 or contact us online.

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