What if your childrearing decisions were challenged in court? Find out what happened to one family on today’s Home School Heartbeat with Mike Smith and HSLDA Attorney Jim Mason.
With me today is HSLDA Senior Counsel Jim Mason. Thank you for joining us today, Jim.
It’s my pleasure, Mike.
Jim, as you know, HSLDA recently defended a member family’s right to raise their children free from unwanted involvement by the children’s grandparents. The grandparents brought suit against the daughter to obtain visitation rights. What’s going on in that case now?
Mike, this case involved a decision by our members to prevent the grandparents from having unsupervised visits after years of the grandparents undermining their reasonable parental decisions and questioning the parents’ most deeply held religious convictions during their visits. After the grandparents filed their visitation lawsuit, we filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the grandparents had failed to show in their complaint that they met the requirements under Maine law necessary to override the decision of the parents. According to the Maine Supreme Court, fit parents have the right to decide whether to permit visits unless the grandparents can show that they had acted in a parental role for a significant portion of the child’s life. In this case, the grandparents had never been in that role—they merely disagreed with our members’ childrearing decisions and had the wherewithal to pursue the matter in court. The judge in this case agreed with us that the grandparents’ complaint failed to show sufficient reason for the courts to override the parents’ decision. The grandparents have appealed the case to the Maine Supreme court.
That’s an encouraging decision, Jim. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.