Grandparents Cannot Bring Separate Stand Alone Lawsuit for Visitation Rights Where The Parents of the Minor Child are Not Separated and the Child is Living with Both Parents
Grandparents do have the right to seek Court ordered visitation, but only when the parents are involved in court proceedings such as divorce, termination of parental rights, or adoption by a blood relative or stepparent. Kunz v. Bailey, S11G0867, decided January 13, 2012.
In Kunz, there was an adoption by the biological mother’s new husband. Later, the parents denied the paternal grandparents access to their grandchildren. However, since the grandparents did not file a petition for visitation rights during the adoption proceeding, they were barred from subsequently bringing a stand alone suit. See also Hudgins v. Harding, A11A2247, decided January 18, 2012.
The moral of this ruling is to intervene for grandparent visitation as soon as either parent initiates legal action against the other.