Many parents rely heavily on their extended family for support and guidance in raising their children, especially from the children’s grandparents. Over time, a child is likely to develop a close relationship and deep bond with extended family members, especially their grandparents. When an Alabama divorce becomes inevitable, emotions and other stressors can have a negative impact on the familial relationships that existed during the marriage. These factors can often irreparably damage one or both of the parent’s relationship with the child’s grandparents, and these damaged relationships can lead to situations where parents decide that they want to deny Alabama grandparents visitation rights with their grandchildren. There are also cases where parents have made such a decision because grandparents have engaged in certain behaviors that a parent does not find suitable for a child. Whatever the reason for denying grandparents access to their grandchildren, AL.com wrote earlier this year about a new Alabama law may help Alabama grandparents secure visitation rights in certain circumstances where such rights have been denied.
Previous Alabama Grandparents Visitation Law
A previous law somewhat similar to the new law was struck down by the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals because they said that it violated the rights of parents to determine what is in the best interests of their child. Lawmakers dissenting on the current bill raised these same issues, stating that the bill takes away a parent’s ability to make decisions concerning what is in their children’s best interests because parents may have valid reasons for determining that grandparents should not have visitation privileges. In January of this year, the Alabama Supreme Court refused a request to review the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals’ decisions regarding the rights of Alabama grandparents to secure visitation, giving rise to the repeal of the old law through passage of a newer one that was designed to ensure parents’ rights are protected.
New Alabama Grandparents Visitation Bill
Even with some outcry that the new bill does not do enough to protect a parent’s right to determine what is in their children’s best interest, the bill passed the Alabama legislature and has been signed into law by Governor Bentley. The new law requires Alabama grandparents that wish to petition the court for visitation to file a petition with the court and prove to the court through clear and convincing evidence that the grandparent requesting visitation has an existing relationship with the child in question and that visitation would indeed be in the child’s best interest. Grandparents may request visitation when one or both parents’ parental rights have been terminated, if the children were born out of wedlock, or if the children’s parents have filed for divorce.
Legal Assistance with Alabama Visitation
Alabama divorce is a complex process made up of many different aspects, including Alabama visitation arrangements. If you are facing divorce in Alabama and have questions about visitation, or if you are a grandparent and have questions about your Alabama visitation rights, it is important to enlist the assistance of a Birmingham divorce attorney that has experience handling different types of Alabama divorce and Alabama visitation considerations. Contact the dedicated legal team at Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC to schedule a consultation where you can find out more about Alabama divorce and the Alabama visitation process.