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Court rules against great-grandparents in custody case

Extra-parental visitation rights are often a complex issue, but a New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling simplified it recently, much to the chagrin of great-grandparents throughout the state. The Supreme Court upheld a circuit court ruling that great-grandparents do not have visitation rights under the current law, although many grandparents do.

The conflict arose when the great grandparents of a 5-year-old girl petitioned for visitation rights after raising her for most of her life until November 2015. The couple contended that, even though the current statutes only offer grandparents visitation rights and not great-grandparents, that they should retain some rights because of a common-law right to visitation from their role in raising the child.

Both the circuit and state supreme courts rejected this assertion, pointing to the statutes on the books and their unambiguity on the matter.The supreme court noted that the law was changed in 1991 to do away with common-law standings of many kinds and make the matter more clear-cut.

While the great-grandparents in this case did not receive a verdict they wanted, their fight helped to define the issue for those who may have similar conflicts.

If you have a complicated custody or visitation issue, it is always wise to consult with an experienced attorney who understands the finer points of New Hampshire law, and can help you fight for your rights and the rights of others. With proper guidance from an experienced, skilled attorney, you can explore all your options protect your rights while gaining a fuller understanding of the position of the law on your particular issue.

Source: New Hampshire Union Leader, "Court rules great-grandparents have no standing with child," Pat Grossmith, May 13, 2017

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