Senate File 118: Expanded Visitation Orders

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Last Updated: March 10, 2014
Senate File 118: Expanded Visitation Orders
Sponsors:
Senators Beall and Dearden
Summary:

Current law restricts the circumstances under which grandparents can petition a court to grant visitation rights to children over the objections of a parent. This bill would dramatically expand the ability of grandparents to request visitation and, once requested, it would also expand the circumstances under which it would be granted.

Currently, the law only allows a grandparent to petition for visitation of a child if the parent of the child who is the child of the grandparent or the grandchild of the great-grandparent is deceased. This bill would remove this restriction and allow a grandparent to file for visitation at any time.

Current law also requires that, before a judge grants visitation of a child to a grandparent over the objections of a parent, all of the following must be true:

  • It is in the best interest of the child to grant such visitation.
  • The grandparent or great-grandparent has established a substantial relationship with the child prior to the filing of the petition.
  • The parent is unfit to make the decision regarding visitation.

This bill would allow visitation under an additional, broader set of standards that place the burden of proof on the parents to establish that granting visitation would place the child at risk of physical or emotional harm.

It is always tragic when the relationship between parents and grandparents is eroded to the point where disputes over visitation of grandparents arise. However, it is critical to protect the right of parents to make decisions about the care and upbringing of their children.

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.
Action Requested:
None at this time
Status:

01/31/2013 - Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary Committee
02/12/2013 - Subcommittee hearing scheduled
01/16/2014 - Sent to Judiciary Subcommittee
02/12/2014 - Subcommittee hearing set
02/21/2014 - Bill did not leave committee before funnel date, and is dead.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History

February 8, 2013 E-lert: Calls Needed Before Tuesday to Protect Kids from Unwanted Visits

February 13, 2013 E-lert: Anti-Parent Bill Dies in Subcommittee