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VisitationUnited States Supreme Court Declines to Get Involved in Grandparent Visitation Dispute

March 27, 2007

After taking a short, but much needed vacation, I am back and ready to blog.

The Family Law Prof Blog reports that “A widowed father lost his bid Monday to have the Supreme Court decide whether grandparents should have court-ordered visits with his son. The justices refused to get involved in the dispute between Shane Fausey, a federal-prison guard in Pennsylvania, and his dead wife’s mother. Cheryl Hiller won rulings in Pennsylvania courts giving her regular visits with Fausey’s son, Kaelen, over the father’s objection. Grandparents do not have to prove that being kept away would be harmful to their grandchildren in order to get court-ordered visitation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said.”

Fausey said the court ruling violated his constitutional right to make parenting decisions, an issue the  Supreme Court did not address.  State courts are divided on the issue. Twelve states prohibit courts from ordering grandparent visitation unless it can be shown that the child would be harmed by their absence, Fausey’s lawyers said in court papers filed in the case Fausey v. Hiller, 06-863.

As I recently noted,  the New York Court of Appeals recently upheld the validity of  New York’s  law which permits grandparents, under certain circumstances, to seek visitation with their grandchildren.

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