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What Legal Rights Do Grandparents Have?

The granting of grandparent visitation for grandchildren in Wisconsin is complex. In most circumstances where a grandchild is living with a parent, grandparents will be unable to obtain visitation rights. Wisconsin law lays out specific situations when a grandparent may be able to obtain visitation rights for their grandchildren.

For Grandchildren From Married Parents

There are three requirements for a grandparent, or anyone else who is not the parent of a child, to obtain visitation rights. If the grandparent’s child was married, these requirements are:

  • The parents must have been married to each other and are either divorced or a divorce is pending before the court.
  • The person petitioning the court must fall into any of the following categories to have standing, or the right, to petition the court: a grandparent, a great grandparent, a stepparent or person who has maintained a relationship with the child similar to a parent-child relationship.
  • Once it is determined that the person petitioning the court has standing, the party must then show that the visitation is in the best interest of the child, which is shown through a number of statutory factors.

These cases often arise in situations where a child’s parent is unable to adequately care for the child, such as substance dependencies, incarceration or other impairments to their fitness as parents. Our attorneys at Thelen & Associates, LLC understand how difficult these cases can be, and we work to ensure that visitation or custody is in the best interests of the child.

If The Parents Were Never Married

In these cases, grandparents must show that they have been involved with the grandchild’s life or had attempted to be involved. They also must demonstrate that granting them visitation is in the best interests of the child and that they will not act in a manner contrary to the decisions made by the child’s legal custodian.

This is a complex argument, and we can work with you and your facts to craft the most compelling case for you to receive visitation rights. We understand how important it is to maintain these relationships with your grandchildren, and we strive to help you make your case to the court to preserve relationships under difficult circumstances.

Contact Our Firm

If you need help with asserting grandparent rights or with any other aspects of the custody of grandchildren, a lawyer from our Waukesha office can answer your questions and help with the process. Call 262-955-8241 or use our online form to request an appointment.