Grandparents Custody Rights in Michigan

By Mark Vansetti

Under Michigan law, grandparents are not awarded custody of a grandchild unless the court determines the parents are unfit to care for the child. In circumstances where grandparents are not awarded custody, the court may still enter an order for visitation with the grandparents, known as grandparenting time. Michigan's Child Custody Act dictates the particular circumstances when a grandparent may ask the court for grandparenting time and indicates what the grandparent must prove to receive it.

Best Interests of the Child

Michigan recognizes that parents have a constitutional right to have custody of their children. When courts make a determination regarding child custody and parenting time, the court must take into consideration the best interests the child. To do so, the court will analyze any factor it considers relevant. Under the law, the court must consider the emotional ties with the parents, the parent's capacity to provide love, affection, guidance, food, clothing and medical care, and whether there is a history of domestic violence in the home. The court must also take into consideration the child's preference, how long the child has been in a stable home, child's home, school and community record, as well as the moral fitness and mental and physical health of all parties.

Petition for Custody

If a grandparent wishes to ask the court for custody on the basis the child's parents are unfit to care for the child, the grandparent must file a petition with the court. The court must consider the best interests of the child when determining custody. Also, the court must presume that awarding custody to the parents is in the best interests of the child unless another party, such as the grandparents, show that awarding custody to the parents is not in the best interests of the child. This must be proven by clear and convincing evidence, meaning the court must be thoroughly convinced.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Grandparenting Time Petition

In circumstances where a grandparent does not have custody, she may ask the court for visitation or grandparenting time in certain circumstances. Initially, the court will presume that a parent's choice to forbid grandparenting time is in the best interest of the child as long as that parent is fit for parenting. However, grandparents have an opportunity to prove to the court by a preponderance of the evidence that denying grandparenting time is harmful to the child. This means the court must find that there is a 51 percent chance or greater that denying grandparenting time is harmful to the child.

When Grandparents May Petition

A grandparent may ask the court for visitation when there is a divorce pending between the parents or when the child was born out-of-wedlock and the parents are not living together. Grandparents may also petition the court for grandparenting time when someone other than the child's parents have legal custody, the grandparent has cared for the child during the year prior to the petition or when the child's parent, who is a child of the grandparent, is deceased.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
New York Statute for Visitation


Related articles

The Rights & Responsibilities of a Temporary Guardian in Arkansas

A temporary guardian is a person appointed by the court to play the legal role of a child's parent, when parents are unable to do so. A court may appoint a temporary guardian when a parent is incarcerated, temporarily too ill to care for the child or after a parent dies. In Arkansas, guardians have many of the same rights and responsibilities of parents. The guardian must relinquish the child to the parent at the end of the term of guardianship if the order of guardianship orders her to do so.

The Custody of Kids When Not Married in Mississippi

In most states, when an unmarried woman gives birth, she automatically and legally has sole custody of her child. Mississippi is no exception. When a married woman has a child, the state presumes that her husband is the father. In legal terms, “presumes” means that it is true until proved otherwise to a court's satisfaction. If the woman is not married, her child has no presumed father. Her child’s biological father therefore has no rights unless he takes steps to correct the situation.

Temporary Custody Laws For Children in Georgia

In some cases, it is in the best interest of the child to create a temporary custody arrangement before the court makes a final determination of custody. Temporary custody is often awarded in cases of divorce, but it may also become an issue between unmarried parents. Additionally, in cases of abuse, a grandparent or other relative may seek temporary custody of the child.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

How to Get 50/50 Joint Custody

Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make decisions regarding her child’s care, welfare, education and ...

How to File for Custody of a Minor in Mobile, Alabama

Custody disputes commonly arise as the result of divorce or paternity proceedings. The Alabama legislature has enacted ...

How to Establish a Guardian for the Children When Both Biological Parents Are Divorced

Parents have a constitutional right to the "care, custody and control" of their children as stated by the United States ...

Paternal Visitation & Custody Rights in Michigan

A Michigan father has custodial and visitation rights as awarded by the court. State law doesn't use gender as a factor ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED