Sunday, December 08, 2013

The trouble with grandparent visitation

The US Supreme Court made a mess of grandparent visitation law in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), and the states have been sharply divided on the issue ever since. The latest mess is a N. Dakota case:
GRAND FORKS – A couple here who were sued by the man’s parents for visitation with the grandchildren is appealing the case to the state Supreme Court.

That’s after a judge confirmed his ruling that Cory Bjerke and his longtime partner, Naomi Sterf, must allow their 16-year-old to visit her grandparents any time she wishes, and also must allow the couple’s other two younger children to see Bjerke’s parents.

State law says grandparents may be given visitation, as long as it’s in the children’s best interests and doesn’t interfere with the parent-child relationship.

Bjerke and Sterf argue the 16-year-old’s unfettered visitation rights laid out in the order by Grand Forks County District Court Judge Lawrence Jahnke do interfere with their parent-child relationship.
These visitation laws foolishly undermine parental authority, as can be seen in this case.

It is especially infuriating when the judge orders an outrageous and unconstitutional visitation schedule, and then disavows any responsibility for it:
The judge wrote that he hoped the bad feeling between the two sets of adults could be set aside, especially as holidays approached.

“It’s time for the Respondents and Petitioners, for the sake of their children and grandchildren, to once again attempt to re-establish a civil dialogue with one another. They can’t expect the court to repair their fractured relationship,” Jahnke wrote. “Only they themselves can do it.”
Judge Jahnke fractured that relationship by ordering the parents to let their kids run off to the grandparents whenever they please. The parental responsibilities are with the parents, not the grandparents, and the parents need the authority to use their own judgment without the micro-management by an a-hole judge like Judge Jahnke.


Anonymous said...

Would you be more specific about what's wrong with that U. S. Supreme Court case? The article about the ND case requires a login so I didn't read that, but it might turn out that the judge you called a dirty name is overruled based on that U. S. Supreme Court case.

If both parents are in agreement against grandparent visitation, then I agree with you that the parents should have the say-so. The problem mostly arises when one parent is unfit or dead and grandparents want visitation. Then if the remaining parent doesn't allow grandparent visitation, it makes sense to me that a court should intervene depending on the child's best interest, same as if separated parents disagree about visitation.

George said...

I say that the US Supreme Court made a mess of Troxel because it was a splintered decision with no majority. Since then, about half the states have interpreted the decision as to allow grandparent visitation orders, and about half to forbid them. The issue has not been decided.

Anonymous said...

I dont think federal law should be uniform on this. Why cant each state decide for themselves what they wish to do in this area.

some states dont monitor home schooling and some strictly monitor home schooling.

as for the 16yo and the courts making the parents authority ineffective, at 16 this sort of glide path isnt necessarily a bad thing. at 18, she will be able to tell her parents to f'off.