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Grandparents' Visitation Rights

A child's relationship with his grandparents is important. But grandparent-visitation orders necessarily impinge on a parent's constitutionally protected rights.

The Indiana Supreme Court in the case of In Re visitation of M.L.B. recently held that an order granting grandparent visitation must limit the visitation award to an amount that does not substantially infringe on parents' rights to control the upbringing of their children and must include findings that address the following four factors for balancing parents' rights and the child's best interests:

  1. The presumption that a fit parent's decision about grandparent visitation is in child's best interests.
  2. The special weight that must be given to a fit parent's decision to deny or limit visitation.
  3. Whether a parent has agreed to some visitation or denied it entirely.
  4. Whether the petitioning grandparent has established that visitation is in child's best interests.

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