There is something extraordinary about the bond between a grandparent and their grandchild. Grandparents provide life stories and wisdom to a younger generation and, in turn, are rewarded with improved mental and physical health.
Unfortunately, not every grandparent can develop that important relationship. However, in Indiana, grandparents do have rights specified by law.
Grandparent visitation act
The Grandparent Visitation Act allows grandparents to seek visitation rights in three specific situations:
1. If the child’s parent is deceased
2. If the parents of the child are divorced
3. If the child was born out of wedlock and the child’s father has established paternity
To request visitation, a grandparent must file a petition in the court of the county where the child lives or where the parents’ marriage was dissolved. The court will then consider whether granting visitation rights would be in the grandchild’s best interests. It looks at factors such as:
- The child’s age
- The length and strength of the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild
- The wishes of the child, if they are old enough to make their own decisions
- Evidence of abuse by the grandparents
- Substance abuse by the grandparents
- The mental and physical health of the grandparents
Still, Indiana courts give considerable weight to a fit parent’s decision regarding who may have contact with their child. If both parents object to the grandparent having visitation, the grandparent must overcome this presumption by showing that visitation is in the child’s best interest.
Petitioning the court to establish visitation can be a daunting task. You should discuss your situation with someone who can guide you on the best course of action.