As a grandparent, do I have the right to see my grandchild? Attorneys are often asked this question. In Indiana, the legal response is maybe.
Under certain circumstances, a grandparent residing in Indiana can petition a court for something called “grandparent visitation.” If one of the following is true, grandparent visitation may be appropriate:
- The grandchild’s parent is dead;
- The marriage of the grandchild’s parents has been dissolved (in other words, they are divorced); or
- The child was born outside of marriage. However, paternal grandparents of a child born outside of marriage can ask for grandparent visitation only if paternity has been established.
Although Indiana law permits grandparent visitation in certain circumstances, that right is limited by the United States Supreme case of Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000). Troxel emphasized the presumption that a fit parent acts in the best interests of their child, and so long as the parent is fit, a state has no grounds to question the parent’s decisions for raising their child—including decisions made about contact between that child and their grandparents. However, where a parent is unfit, or where the parent has made a decision that is not in their child’s best interests, a trial court may grant a request for grandparent visitation.
The appropriateness of grandparent visitation is a fact-sensitive inquiry, and the facts of each case are unique. The attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C. regularly handle grandparent visitation cases and are available to discuss your situation. Call us to schedule a consultation at 317-660-8150, your future is our concern.