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Reviewing grandparent visitation rights in Indiana

Grandparents in Indianapolis may develop strong bonds with their grandchildren that most will want to see continue in the event that their sons or daughters end up getting a divorce. Fortunately, Indiana state law recognizes a grandparent’s right to visitation, and has established guidelines that people can cite when trying to have such rights respected.

According to the state’s Annotated Code, a grandparent can request visitation if their son or daughter who is the child’s parent divorces or dies. They may also ask for visitation if their grandchild was born out of wedlock, but paternity testing confirmed their son to be his or her father. Visitation will only be granted if the court is sufficiently convinced that doing so will be in the best interests of the children involved. When making this determination, it will take into consideration the amount of contact that the requesting grandparents have had with the children (or what attempts they may have made to establish contact). The court may also choose to interview the children involved individually in chambers to better understand their wishes.

In the event that grandchildren are orphaned and later adopted, grandparents can seek visitation provided that the adoptive parent is related to the children in one of the following ways:

  •          A stepparent
  •          A grandparent
  •          A sibling
  •          An aunt or uncle
  •          A niece or nephew

The American Association of Retired Persons reports that 1.7 percent of the children currently residing in Indiana live in homes headed a type of the aforementioned relatives.

If the grandchildren are adopted by people with whom they have no previous biological or marital relation, those adoptive parents are under no obligation to continue visitation with the children’s biological relatives. In such a case, grandparent visitation may only be allowed at the adoptive parents’ discretion.

 

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