By Attorney Kellen O’Brien
Grandparents are an important part of a child’s life. They not only provide love and affection, but grandparents and other relatives also provide child care and financial support, and they develop deep emotional bonds. Grandparents often form a parental bond with their grandchildren because they are asked to assist their adult children with child-rearing responsibilities. Grandparents frequently call our office when changes in a child’s family reduces the time a grandparent has with their grandchild and in some cases creates concerns about the child’s well-being.
In Wisconsin, there are three statutes that protect the rights of grandparents and other relatives, to maintain a relationship with a child they have helped raise. The first statute allows grandparents and other relatives to seek visitation rights in Children’s Court when the child is being adopted. The second statute allows grandparents and stepparents to seek visitation privileges if one or both of the child’s parents passes away. The third statute allows grandparents, relatives, and other third parties to pursue visitation rights when they are prevented by a parent from maintaining a relationship with the child.
A recent Supreme Court of Wisconsin case, Michels v. Lyons, introduced higher standards for Wisconsin courts to consider in grandparent’s visitation cases. However, grandparents, relatives, and third parties still have the right to pursue visitation rights in Wisconsin courts. The key factors are whether the child has fit parents and whether the petitioner has previously maintained or tried to maintain a parent-like relationship with the child.
Probst Law Offices provides legal services to grandparents, relatives, and third parties seeking to secure visitation rights. We understand the importance of maintaining the emotional bonds that form between you and a child, and the devastation that occurs when those bonds are torn away. We will help you understand your grandparent visitation rights and determine the best strategy to secure your rights. Contact our offices today for immediate assistance and a free initial consultation at 414-210-3135.