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Can I demand to see my grandkids as a Connecticut grandparent?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2019 | Family Law |

The answer to today’s blog headline query posed above is simple enough. If you are a Connecticut grandparent, you can demand access to your grandchildren via a court petition.

That response immediately begs this question, though: Will visitation automatically be judicially endorsed?

Grandmothers and grandfathers in Connecticut – and every other American state – need to know that no jurisdiction anywhere in the country accords default visitation rights to grandparents. Although every state has its own distinct laws that address grandparent visitation, enactments everywhere similarly stress a uniform principle.

That is this: Parents’ rights are superior. Absent some compelling showing by a grandparent, they will be routinely upheld by courts.

That equates in Connecticut to a judicial balancing act focused upon a respective weighing of interests, with an initially heavy presumption favoring parents. An in-depth online overview of grandparents’ visitation rights in Connecticut stresses that “a parent usually has the final say over visits.”

What that means in a bottom-line sense is that a petitioning grandparent must make a compelling showing that a grandchild’s best interests are diminished by an absence of contact with grandma and/or grandpa. It’s not enough to merely demonstrate that grandparent/grandchild interaction would benefit the latter. A court must be convinced that visitation denial would materially harm a child.

That is a notably high hurdle to clear, and it is a challenge supported by the above-cited presumption that parents have highest-level prerogatives in any matter involving their children.

Connecticut law on grandparents’ visitation and custody is detailed and subject to variable determinations in given cases. Parties with questions or concerns regarding this singular subject matter can contact a proven Connecticut family law firm.