Families used to be a lot closer, with many generations of a clan living on place among the more common residences in early America. Although family homes are generally smaller in scope now, the law still recognizes the closeness of family between more than one immediate generation.
- What sort of rights did grandparents have?
Grandparents had more latitude to care for, adopt or have close relationships with their children’s children in most of the 20th century. Washington State, for example, once gave courts the latitude to grant visitation rights to anyone who applied for them.
- What about now?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 2000 case known as Troxel that this allowance was unconstitutional as it interfered with parents’ rights. Most states allow grandparents to apply for visitation or custody in the case that a divorce or death in the family, but more distant relatives do not have these rights.
- Do grandparents in Indiana have these rights?
The Hoosier State follows the Troxel precedent, in that grandparents can apply for visitation or custody under limited circumstances. A recent push to allow great-grandparents to access these rights and expand grandparents’ rights was also countered with the fear that the bill would infringe on the rights of parents.
- How can grandparents make a case for their rights?
Filings with the clerk in the right Indiana county can begin a case for visitation or custody. An attorney can help with these filings as well as the resultant hearings and court appearances that may follow for grandparents looking to be a part of children’s lives.