Sunday, November 20, 2005

Case Law Development: Heightened Pleading Standard for Grandparent Visitation Petitions

The New Jersey Appellate court held that grandparents seeking visitation must meet a heightened pleading standard for their petition to survive a motion to dismiss.  Grandparent petitions must have a “clear and specific allegation of concrete harm to the children. Mere general and conclusory allegations of harm … are insufficient.”  Moreover, the court held that a court need not provide plaintiffs with an opportunity for discovery to meet this heightened pleading standard since, if the type of harm required to be pled “generally rests on the existence of an unusually close relationship between the grandparent and the child, or on traumatic circumstances such as a parent's death, it should not be necessary for the grandparent seeking visitation to obtain discovery in order to be able to plead specific facts to support his or her claim of harm to the children. Those facts should already be within the grandparent's knowledge.”

Daniels v. Daniels, 2005 N.J. Super. LEXIS 338 (November 16, 2005)
Opinion on the web at http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/courts/appellate/a7123-03.opn.html (last visited November 18, 2005 bgf)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2005/11/case_law_develo_25.html

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