Milwaukee Grandparent Rights
We provide personalized, professional legal representation you can depend on while seeking to protect your rights as a grandparent in Milwaukee.
While Wisconsin generally prioritizes the rights of parents to raise their children, the law also recognizes that there are other important people in a child’s life. For many of us, grandparents are the first people who come to mind. Unfortunately, If a grandparent does not have a good relationship with the grandchild’s parents, the parents could block the grandparent from visiting. Maybe the grandparent had a falling out with the parents, or one of the parents died and the in-laws do not get along. In most cases grandparents should be allowed to see their grandchildren. The Milwaukee grandparents rights attorneys at MacGillis Wiemer, LLC, will fight for your visitation rights while protecting parental rights and the best interests of your grandchild.
Grandparents have the right to petition for visitation rights with their grandchildren. Wisconsin law specifically says that “a grandparent, great grandparent, stepparent or person who has maintained a relationship similar to a parent-child relationship with the child” may petition for visitation rights.
Here is what you, as a grandparent, need to know:
- The parents must be notified of the court hearing when visitation rights will be determined.
- Visitation rights are not custody rights. The court will set reasonable parameters that protect the child’s best interests and that do not impede parental rights.
- The court probably will not grant visitation if you have been convicted of first-degree or second-degree intentional homicide of the child’s parent.
- The court will consider the child’s wishes whenever possible.
- Anyone who interferes with your court-ordered visitation rights could find themselves in contempt of court and subject to certain sanctions.
Specifically, the court will grant reasonable visitation rights if the following criteria apply:
- The child’s parents were not married when the child was born, and they are not married now.
- If a paternal grandparent is petitioning for visitation rights, the child’s legal father has been established.
- The child was not adopted.
- The grandparent has maintained a relationship with the child (or at least attempted to).
- The grandparent is not likely to interfere with a parent’s legal rights to make decisions about the child’s care.
- Visitation is in the child’s best interests.
The language of the statute is a little confusing. Previously, courts have ruled that the “maintained a relationship similar to a parent-child relationship” requirement also applied to grandparents. The Wisconsin Supreme Court clarified the standard in a 2016 decision.
The court said it is “unnatural” to make grandparents prove that they have a relationship with their grandchildren. That requirement was intended for people who do not have a direct family tie to the child’s parents.
At MacGillis Wiemer, LLC, we will fight for your right to visit your grandchildren while protecting parental rights and the best interests of your grandchildren. Get the professional legal representation you need in your case and contact our Milwaukee grandparents’ rights attorneys today to request a free consultation.