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Grandparents Rights in Indiana

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Grandparents Rights in Indiana

July 25, 2021

While family law usually refers to issues between spouses and parents, it can also cover grandparents and their desires for involvement in their grandchildren’s lives. Grandparents’ rights can be very situational, making it imperative that grandparents who want to continue their relationship with their grandkids contact an experienced Indiana family law lawyer.

Are Grandparents Entitled to Visitation in Indiana?

All grandparents aren’t necessarily entitled to visitation with their grandchildren, but some can receive them. Indiana courts often recognize that grandchildren have had a long-standing and meaningful relationship with their grandparents. In these situations, the court may find that it’s in the child’s best interest to maintain a relationship. 

A grandparent can ask the court for visitation rights if:

  • The grandchild’s parent is dead
  • The grandchild’s parents 
  • The child was born outside of marriage—however, in this case, the child’s paternal grandparents can ask for grandparent visitation only if paternity has been established

Suppose the grandchild’s parents are both still alive and are married to each other. In that case, the grandparents don’t have grounds to ask for visitation rights.

How the Court Decides to Grant Grandparent Visitation

When determining whether to grant grandparent visitation rights or not, Indiana family courts will consider several factors relating to the child, the parent, and the grandparent. More specifically, the court will take into account whether the:

  • A grandparent has had or has attempted to have meaningful contact with the child
  • Parents want them to have visitation
  • The parents have allowed some visitation with the child in the past

The court will also look at the relationship between the grandchild and grandparent, the entirety of the circumstances, and the relationship between the grandparent and the parent.

Can Great-Grandparents Seek Visitation Rights in Indiana?

Unfortunately, Indiana family law doesn’t provide for great-grandparent visitation rights. The law only addresses the rights of grandparents under the previously mentioned circumstances. Even the best Indiana family law attorney can’t assist great-grandparents with obtaining visitation rights. However, in rare circumstances in which the child’s parents are no longer living or have their parental rights removed, grandparents as well as great-grandparents might be considered for legal guardianship.

Getting Grandparent Visitation Rights

If you are seeking visitation rights to your grandchild, the first and best thing you can do is talk to their parents. Suppose you can amicably work out an arrangement to see your grandchild without the involvement of the court. In that case, you will generally have more control and save time and money.

However, if this can’t be done, it’s time to reach out to a knowledgeable Indiana family law lawyer. Your lawyer can assess the entire situation to determine if the court will allow and grant a petition for grandparents’ rights.  

Meet with an Experienced Indiana Family Law Lawyer

At The Bellinger Law Office, we understand that grandparents can play an integral role in the lives of their grandchildren and want to be involved in their lives. Whenever possible, we will fight for your right to see your grandchildren. Sometimes this may be through negotiations, and other times it might be by petitioning the court. You can schedule a case review with an experienced Fort Wayne family law attorney by contacting us today.

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