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Grandparent visitation in Rhode Island after a parent's divorce


The bond between a grandparent and his or her grandchild is a very special thing. Beyond the love between the two, grandparents in Rhode Island and elsewhere can pas a lot of valuable life lessons on to their grandchildren. Unfortunately, sometimes problematic circumstances occur, especially after a contentious divorce, in which a parent may attempt to stop his or her ex's parents from seeing their grandchildren. Perhaps this is an act of revenge or simply due to the animosity of the divorce. This cut-off can harm not just the grandparents but the child as well. Rhode Island law recognizes this and provides grandparents the right to visit their grandchild under very specific circumstances.


Per Rhode Island statutes, the court may award grandparents with reasonable visitation periods with their grandchild if the following elements are met. First of all, the court must find that grandparent visitation is in the child's best interests. Second, the court must find that the grandparent seeking visitation is both fit and proper to be awarded periods of visitation with the child.

Third, the court must find that the grandparent had tried more than once in the past 30 days immediately prior to the date he or she filed his or her petition seeking visitation to visit his or her grandchild and was not permitted to do so by the child's parents. Fourth, the court must find that grandparent visitation would be impossible unless the court intervenes. Finally, it must be shown that the grandparents have successfully countered, through clear and convincing evidence, the presumption that the child's parents' decision to deny visitation was reasonable.

When it comes to child custody and visitation after a divorce, it is important to recognize that there are more people affected than just the child and his or her parents. Grandparents' rights are important too. Grandparents in Rhode Island who feel they have wrongfully been denied visitation with their grandchild should take the proper legal steps to address the situation. This could help grandparent invoke their rights and protect his or her interests.

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Law Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq

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