Many scenarios exist where grandparents wish to have a relationship with a grandchild but are unable to do so. These situations sometimes involve the death of a parent, the relocation of a separated family or even the incarceration of a parent.
A closer look at Indiana law shows that parents have a few options when it comes to pursuing grandparental rights for visitation.
When visitation is possible
The state of Indiana under state code 1C-31-17-5 says that grandparents may seek visitation rights under certain conditions. The death of the child’s parent is one condition. Grandparents may also request visitation rights in the case of a divorce between the child’s parents or in the case of a child born out of wedlock.
In the case of a child born out of wedlock, the child’s father must establish paternity. If conditions permit, the grandparent or grandparents may then file a petition seeking visitation rights. The court then decides the case based on the best interests of the child. One of the main determining factors is whether or not the grandparents have a meaningful relationship with the child.
Additional details on the process
The Children’s Law Center of Indiana states that grandparents in Indiana do not have automatic visitation rights, but they must make their case before the courts. They must also give legal notice to the parent or parents that they are pursuing this action.
In some cases, the petition must provide compelling evidence to overcome the parent’s or parents’ objections to the visitation. In all cases, the state of Indiana must have jurisdiction over the child’s case.