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DecisionsChildren’s rights. Parent’s rights. Then, maybe grandparent’s rights.

June 19, 2020

In Matter of Donna F.T. the appellate court reversed and remanded a supposed-consent decree that granted grandparents visitation, based upon a number of grounds.

First, the record did not support that the order was issued on consent – merely that the attorney for the mother acknowledged that the death of the father gave the paternal grandparents standing to seek visitation. However the mother had objected previously as she had indicated the child did not wish to see the grandparents and would be traumatized by such visitation so soon after her father’s death. Because of this, it was certainly proper for the trial court to have appointed an attorney for the child, however that attorney did not have a chance to relay the child’s actual position before the court took testimony from one grandparent and took a negative inference from the mother’s failure to appear, notwithstanding that the record reflected she was undergoing a medical procedure out-of-state.

Citing, Matter of E.S. v. P.D. (which is a NY, post- Troxel v. Granville case), the appellate court upheld that, absent consent, there would have be a full best interests hearing held before a Court could order grandparent visitation. (Were both parents alive, further threshold inquiry regarding standing would have to occur first).

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About the author:

Founder and Principal Attorney at the Law Office of Bryan Greenberg LLC, Middlesex County, NJ. With an unwavering commitment to guiding individuals through the complex and emotional landscape of divorce and family law matters, Bryan stands as the founding attorney of Law Office of Bryan Greenberg. Backed by years of legal expertise and a deep understanding of Middlesex County's legal landscape, Bryan is dedicated to offering compassionate yet pragmatic solutions to every client's unique situation. Through insightful blog posts, Bryan shares valuable insights, tips, and advice on navigating the challenges of divorce and family law, helping individuals make informed decisions during these critical life transitions. For comprehensive legal guidance and empathetic support, turn to Bryan Greenberg and the team at the Law Office of Bryan Greenberg.

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