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Massachusetts Laws

Forms 

Selected Case Law

Organizations

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Massachusetts Laws

MGL c.119, s.39D Visitation Rights To Certain Grandparents of Unmarried Minor Children.

Forms

Petition for Grandparent Visitation pdf format of Petition for Grandparent(s) Visitation (CJD 105)
file size 1MB, with Instructions. Probate and Family Court.

Petition for Grandparent Visitation pdf format of Petition for Grandparent Visitation (JV-53)
, Juvenile Court. Grandparents may seek visitation in Juvenile Court if there is an underlying care and protection or Child Requiring Assistance case before the court. 

Selected Case Law

Blixt v. Blixt , 437 Mass. 649 (2002)
A parent's decision regarding grandparent visitation must be given "presumptive validity." To obtain visitation, "the grandparents must allege and prove that the failure to grant visitation will cause the child significant harm by adversely affecting the child's health, safety, or welfare."

Guardianship of Norman , 41 Mass. App. Ct. 402 (1996)
Statute requires judge to make specific and complete written findings that visitation is in child's best interests.

Sher v. Desmond , 70 Mass.App.Ct. 270 (2007)
Although there is a presumption of parental fitness to decide whether or not to involve grandparents in a child' life, the state has a compelling interest in protecting children from harm. In this case, the court applied the Blixt standard and held that while the grandmother had no previous relationship with the child, she may sue for visitation to protect the child from significant harm. "The grandmother's allegations [of abuse] rebut the presumption of the father's fitness, at the very least, to decide alone whether to permit visitation."

Troxel v. Granville , 530 U.S. 57, 147 L.Ed. 2d 49, 120 S.Ct. 2054 (2000)
In a 6-3 decision, the Court struck down a Washington state judge's granting of grandparent visitation over the wishes of a parent, but did not declare all such statutes unconstitutional. Both sides found supporting arguments in the six separate opinions the Court issued.

Organizations

Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
c/o Executive Office of Elder Affairs
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
508-771-4336

The Foundation for Grandparenting
108 Farnham Road
Ojai, CA 93023
805-640-0512

Web Sources

Print Sources


Last update: February 18, 2016

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