Grandparents Visitation Rights Upheld Where They Had Been Raising Child From Birth and Substantial Timesharing Was In the Child’s Best Interests

Wisconsin Mother has Son while she is imprisoned.

Maternal Grandparents raise Son … until he is five years old.

When Son is three years old, Father files a family court case to establish legally that he is Son’s father and to win custody of Son.

Prior to trial in family court, Father and Grandparents come to a child custody and timesharing agreement granting Father custody, but also granting Grandparents substantial visitation with Son. That agreement is adopted into a visitation order by the family court.

Later, Father seeks to modify the agreed order with the intention of reducing Grandparents’ timesharing and visitation.

At trial on Father’s proposed modification, the family court does modify its previous order, but the court still awards Grandparents substantial visitation with Son, although less than previously agreed.

Father appeals, raising several technical arguments relative to a Wisconsin grandparents’ visitation statute and a landmark federal constitutional case.

On appeal, an intermediate level appeals court upholds the family court’s award of substantial school year visitation to Grandparents at trial, but reverses and remands for further proceedings as to nonschool year visitation, based upon ambiguity in Father’s court papers as to whether Father was seeking to modify visitation outside the school year at trial.

Read more in this Wisconsin family court opinion and this Kids Matters Inc article: Visitation Rights of Grandparents Reaffirmed by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.