Wisconsin grandparent visitation is an option for grandparents who have developed close relationships with their grandchildren. Divorcing parents sometimes try to prevent grandparents from seeing or spending time with grandchildren. This can be frustrating to grandparents who want to remain an important part of their grandchildren’s lives. Wisconsin grandparents visitation is a complex issue. However, recent changes to Wisconsin law now makes it easier for grandparents to request visitation with grandchildren. Whether or not the court will grant visitation rights to grandparents can vary on a case to case basis, but it is important to note this important change to Wisconsin’s family and grandparents’ rights law.
Until very recently, a grandparent who wanted to establish a visitation schedule with a grandchild would have had to prove that they had a “parent-like relationship” with that child. However, recent changes to Wisconsin’s law now allows grandparents, as well as great-grandparents and step-parents, to petition the court for visitation without having to make the “parent-like relationship” argument. The Supreme Court’s ruling still mandates that any other third party wishing to secure visitation with a child must establish a parent-like relationship, but grandparents may now ask the court for visitation rights more easily.
Requesting visitation rights as a grandparent does not necessarily mean that the judge will grant the request. Before he makes a decision as to whether to allow grandparent visitation, the judge must determine whether the visitation would be in the best interests of the grandchild(ren). The court will also consider the rights of parents to the care, custody and control of their children. Parents’ wishes are given special weight by the court, because the right of a parent to make decisions for a child is a fundamental and Constitutional right.
If you are a grandparent seeking visitation with a grandchild, we recommend making an appointment with an attorney who specializes in family issues of this nature. This area of law has been changing rapidly, and you will need someone familiar with the law to advise you. We have helped many grandparents to secure Wisconsin grandparent visitation rights with their grandchildren, and we would be happy to speak with you. Please call our offices, to schedule a free initial consultation.