Grandparent Rights Attorneys in Indianapolis

Counsel from Dedicated Family Lawyers Serving Carmel & Indianapolis

In Indiana, a trial court may grant visitation rights to grandparents if certain conditions are met.

Specifically, there must be a situation where:

  • A child's parent is deceased;
  • A child's parents are divorced; or
  • A child was born outside of the parents' marriage.

If any of these three conditions has been met, the court may grant the child's grandparents visitation, so long as it is in the best interests of the child. It also must be shown that child's parent is not acting as a fit parent in denying a grandparent visitation with the child.

Some key factors the court will consider include whether a grandparent has had or has attempted to have meaningful contact with the child during the child's lifetime. In addition, the court can consider the parents' reasoning in denying or limiting visitation, and what visitation the child's parent is already providing to the grandparents voluntarily. The court may interview the child in the court's chambers to assist with determining the child's perception of on visitation with their grandparents. The court may additionally take testimony from family members, therapists, and other persons who may have a close relationship with the child.

What to Expect in Court Proceedings

A proceeding for grandparent's visitation is commenced by filing a petition in the appropriate court in the county where the child resides or the county where the child's parents were divorced. After the petition has been filed, grandparents can enter into settlement negations with the child's parents if all parties agree to discuss the matter. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the case will proceed to a hearing. At the hearing, each party will be permitted to present evidence supporting their respective positions and the judge will make a decision regarding the best interests of the child. If an order for visitation is granted, that order may still be modified at a later date.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no specific legal standard in Indiana for determining how much visitation is "too much." The amount of visitation either agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court will depend upon various factors. For instance, the court may evaluate how much time the grandparents have spent with the child in the past and what the child’s needs are. In short, the trial court is vested with a broad amount of discretion in evaluating grandparent visitation cases.

If you are fighting for visitation time with your grandchild, we encourage you to contact our Carmel & Indianapolis family law attorneys today. Likewise, if you are a parent of a child faced with an action for grandparent visitation that you do not believe is in your child’s best interests, be sure to call on Hollingsworth & Zivitz. We can assist you in protecting your rights as a parent or grandparent. With respect to either position, we understand the strong emotion that goes into protecting your grandchild or your child and are ready to assist in advocating for your case.

Contact the firm today set up an initial appointment. We proudly serve clients throughout all of Central Indiana.

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