Friday, December 22, 2006

Supreme Court may hear child custody issue

Joanna Grossman writes:
In 2000, the Supreme Court handed down an important family law opinion, Troxel v. Granville. There, it held the State of Washington state's third-party visitation law unconstitutional as applied to the case before the Court. (I wrote at length about the case in a prior column.)

At the time, many predicted the demise of parallel laws in other states. But now, six years later, more state statutes have withstood challenge than have not, and courts are once again facing claims that grandparents have a right to seek visitation with a grandchild, even over the objection of the grandchild's parents.

Indeed, recently the highest courts of Pennsylvania and Utah upheld their states' laws with respect to grandparent visitation against a constitutional challenge based on Troxel.
The US Supreme Court said that parents have fundamental constitutional rights over the custody of their children, but a lot of states have gone ahead and awarded visitation to non-parents on the flimsiest of justifications. The Supreme Court may have to hear the same issue again.

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