Grandparent Visitation

This is sort of old news, but it’s an important change in the law in Alabama regarding grandparent visitation. The Alabama Supreme Court in June of this year ruled the preexisting Alabama Grandparent Visitation Act, enacted by legislature in 2010, was unconstitutional. The Act, which allowed grandparents to seek visitation rights with their grandchildren even if the parent has given up or lost parental rights, was found to not properly protect parents’ fundamental right to decide how to raise their children. “The state can interfere with that right only if the parents are shown to be unfit, Justice Tom Parker wrote in the main decision, in which Justices Tom Woodall and Kelli Wise concurred.”

“The justices recognize the vital role grandparents and grandchildren play in each others’ lives, wrote Justice Glenn Murdock, himself a grandparent who recalled his special relationship as a child with his own grandparents.

“Ultimately, however, the question present is whether the government has the power to mandate, through the use of force if necessary, the physical removal of children from fit custodial parents,” he wrote. “As between fit parents and the government, I must chose the parents.””

-Eric Velasco, The Birmingham News

This is an important change in the law regarding grandparent visitation in Alabama, and will certainly be the cause of future litigation and controversy.

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