Friday, June 9, 2006

Case Law Development: Nebraska upholds grandparent visitation statute

The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of its grandparent visitation statutes and affirmed a trial court's award of visitation to the children's paternal grandparents.  Under the Nebraska grandparent visitation statutes, grandparents can seek visitation only under certain circumstances: if the grandchild’s parent or parents are deceased, divorced or in the process of seeking a divorce, or have never been married but paternity has been legally established.  Moreover, a court is without authority to order grandparent visitation unless a petitioning grandparent can prove by clear and convincing evidence that (1) there is, or has been, a significant beneficial relationship between the grandparent and the child; (2) it is in the best interests of the child that such relationship continue; and (3) such visitation will not adversely interfere with the parent-child relationship.  The court concluded that these statutes are  narrowly drawn and explicitly protect parental rights while taking the child’s best interests into consideration so as to withstand strict scrutiny.

Hamit v. Hamit, 271 Neb. 659 (June 2, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited June 6, 2006 bgf)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/family_law/2006/06/case_law_develo_6.html

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