Can a family get visitation to see a great-nephew?
Does my family have rights to see my great nephew? My niece died 5 years ago. My great-nephew's father has custody. He has a new girlfriend and decided to cut off ties to our family. He has cut off his e-mails, phone numbers, and moved in with his girlfriend. He wrote several letters stating his wishes. He has no good reason to cut us off except that he has moved on and is happy with his new life. Do we need to hire an attorney or can we get visitation on our own?
"Wisconsin has a statute which governs the granting of visitation rights to third parties under certain circumstances. The basic rule is that upon petition by a grandparent, stepparent or person who has maintained a relationship similar to a parent-child relationship with the child, the court may grant reasonable visitation rights to that person if the parents have notice of the hearing and the court determines the visitation is in the best interests of the child. Whenever possible, the court is to consider the wishes of the child.
There is also a special rule for grandparents of a nonmarital child whose parents have not subsequently married each other: they may petition for visitation rights even if they have not been in a parent-like relationship with the child, if they have tried to maintain a relationship with the child but the custodial parent has interfered with this attempt, and the grandparents are not likely to act contrary to the decisions of the custodial parent regarding the child's health or welfare. This right to request visitation rights cannot be exercised if the child has been adopted.
Courts are generally cautious about granting third party visitation rights for the obvious reason that it is probably not in the child's best interest to clutter up the child's life with too many non-parents having visitation rights. There must generally be a significant relationship between the child and the non-parent, and the child's wishes are to be considered if at all possible.
The Wisconsin Statute governing third party visitation is s. 767.245."
I would seek legal counsel in your area to see if you would qualify under the definition of "third parties" here. The statute may not be specific but case law may be able to help you. It would all depend, it appears, on how close a relationship you have/had.
There is a "grandparent's rights" statute in WI. You need to have a preexisting relationship with the child in order to have standing to bring the motion. A guardian ad litem is usually invlolved as well.
These cases are not easy and do go on for awhile. If the GAL finds that you have had a previous relationship you will get some placement but usually not more than one weekend a month or some weekly placement. But you need to remember you are not the parent so you will not get time like a parent will. But you will be able to maintain you relationship. ,
It appears the provisions of that statute apply to you. I do not recommend handling this kind of a case without an attorney. I do believe I can help you. You are better off moving sooner rather than later, Okease contact me at 414-352-4600. Cheryl P. Baraty, Baraty & Polanksy, LLP