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New Guidance from the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Grandparent Visitation

Under a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, grandparents may find it more difficult for the courts to grant them visitation against the parents’ wishes.

The United State Constitution recognizes fit parents’ fundamental right to raise their children as they deem appropriate. This means they get to decide who their children spend time with and how much time they will spend with them.

Under certain circumstances, if a grandparent is unhappy with the amount of time they get to spend with their grandchild, they may be able to ask the Court to grant them visitation. However, they face an uphill battle if the parents are in agreement and found to be able to provide adequate care for the child.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in Michels v. Lyons (In Re A.A.L.), 2019 WI 57 clarified the grandparent’s burden of proof in order for the Court to award visitation. The Court ruled that a grandparent must overcome a presumption that the parents’ decision is in the child’s best interests and show by clear and convincing evidence that the fit parents’ decision to disallow visitation is contrary to the child’s best interests.

If you are having a dispute about grandparent visitation, you should consult with an attorney. Please call 920-720-0000 to set up a free thirty-minute consultation with either of our two family law attorneys. They’ll be able to provide you with guidance and clarity so you can move forward in the best possible manner.