New Case Law – Grandparent’s Rights

On July 27, 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided G.J.L. v. A.K.L.

In this case to establish visitation between grandparents and their grandchild, the trial court denied the grandparents’ petition for visitation and the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision. The grandparents had been the child’s foster parents for 14 months, and, after the child was returned to his parents’ care, the parents denied the grandparents visitation. The grandparents argued that denying them visitation was harmful to the child’s long term emotional development. The child’s mother argued that he needed time to reestablish a secure relationship with his parents and that court-ordered visitation with the grandparents would interfere with that process. In this type of case, there is a presumption that the parent is acting in the child’s best interests, and the grandparents had to show that the mother was not acting in her child’s best interests. After considering a number of factors, the Court of Appeals decided that the grandparents had not shown that the mother was not acting in the child’s best interests. The court stressed that the law gives parents “significant freedom to make decisions on behalf of their children,” even though a continuing relationship with the grandparents may have benefitted the child.

 The entire opinion can be found here.

About Daniel Margolin

Daniel Margolin is a founding partner of Stephens & Margolin LLP and a Portland, Oregon native. His practice focuses on all aspects of family law litigation. Dan applies his litigation expertise to provide additional expertise when assisting clients with Family Law Appeals and Collaborative Divorce matters. To find out more or contact Daniel Margolin, visit Stephens & Margolin LLP
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4 Responses to New Case Law – Grandparent’s Rights

  1. It’s really good post. I liked it. It was simply interesting. Early advice will allow you to understand your options and to act in an appropriate way so as not to unsettle what could be a very delicate situation.

  2. I completely disagree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals – the child had lived with the grandparents for 14 months and no doubt had developed a bond with the grandparents not to mention a daily routine. The mother acted very selfishly when she ripped the child away from the grandparents – her decision will probably cause long term hard to the child’s emotional, mental well-being.

  3. mirriam says:

    It would be interesting to know why the child lived with the grandparents. I also disagree as tulsa. Oregon doesn’t seem to care much for those of us picking up the pieces of the irresponsible parents. When we are done and the parent has proven to be at least a C- parent and promise to the court to be good….until some finds out they are back to same old drug habits. Tell me its not in the best interest to leave the children where they can be safe and not at risk. Wheres the prevention? Selfish parent? Yup, no thanks for feeding, clothing providing shelter and above all love. I am sick of oregons crap, their way doesn’t work.

  4. Renee says:

    This case is about upholding the rights of parents, and no matter what may have happened in the past, the parents are able to raise their child now. The relationship between biological parents and children are crucial for a child’s overall development, more than a grandparent-grandchild relationship. No matter how much a grandchild may love their grandparents, a child has a strong desire to feel wanted by their biological parents. Additionally, allowing grandparents equal footing with parents in these matters is dangerous for several reasons. One reason is grandparents should not have the right to have power over their adult children and continue to treat them as young children. Another reason is many parents stop relationships with grandparents due to a long history of dysfunction. The courts have in the past acted as culprits of the problem by forcing parents to “just get along” without fully understanding the full history that has resulted in the parent’s decision.

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