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Limiting grandparents' visitation rights in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, grandparents may win visitation rights to their grandchildren. While it may be possible to limit the time that grandparents have to see their grandchildren, there needs to be good reason to do so. For instance, if a grandparent is abusive to the child or teaching the child to hate his or her parents, that may be grounds to limit visitation time. However, a court will not typically deny a grandparent visitation rights simply because a parent requests that such a ruling is made.

It may also be possible to ask for visitation between grandparents and grandchildren to take place in a supervised setting. Typically, a court will mandate that there is enough time for a meal and some sort of activity during a few afternoons a month. Although it may seem tempting to limit a grandparent's rights without a court order, the grandparent may be able to assert his or her rights in court.

If a court battle is anticipated, it may be worthwhile to first attempt a mediation session. During a mediation session, a neutral party can help the parents and grandparents create a visitation schedule. Parents who do not want to engage in mediation may need to present the court with a proposed limited visitation schedule if there is not a compelling reason to keep them away completely.

Those who are dealing with child custody issues may wish to speak to a family law attorney. An attorney may be helpful in negotiating a visitation schedule that works for all parties involved. This may be true whether parents are negotiating with grandparents or one parent is negotiating with another parent. If both sides can come to an agreement, it may be approved quickly and take effect almost immediately.

Source: Findlaw, "How can I limit the visitation time the grandparents have with my children? ", December 26, 2014

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