Saturday, May 13, 2006
The Wisconsin District II Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the mother of a teenager Wednesday in a case that pitted the teen and his paternal grandparents against her. The teen argued that his petition for a change in custody should be granted for the following reasons: (1) He was over the age of fourteen at the time his grandparents petitioned for guardianship for the following reasons: (2) He submitted an affidavit to the court nominating his grandparents as his preferred guardians. (3) In his affidavit, he catalogued many struggles he had in his relationship with his mother. (4) He told the court that he did not want to live with his mother. The teen argued that the court should apply a best interests test and allow his grandparents to act as his guardians.
In rejecting the teen’s claim, the court observed that “only if the Court finds unfitness or compelling circumstances, and best interests requiring someone other than the mother to be appointed a guardian, only then would the Court turn to the nomination" [of the grandparents as the teenager’s guardians]. Furthermore, the court said that it could not ignore “the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 66 (2000). It said that it would not employ any analysis that disregards the constitutionally protected right of the parent. Finally, it ruled that there was no clear showing of a need to disrupt the mother’s custody of her son fining that the teen and his grandparents had failed to prove the mother had done anything "such that a court would be compelled to override the constitutionally protected rights of a parent." News source. Brian Huber, GM Today Staff, gmtoday.com. To read the complete news story, please click here (last visited May 13, 2006, reo). A copy of the slip opinion in Martin v. Julie L.I., filed May 10, 2006, please click here (last visited May 13, 2006, reo).