Grandparent and Great-Grandparent Visitation

I am frequently asked about grandparent and/or great-grandparent visitation.  Iowa Code Section 600C.1 discusses the circumstances in which a grandparent and/or great-grandparent may petition the court for visitation with a grandchild and/or great-grandchild.  A grandparent and/or great-grandparent may only petition the court for visitation when the parent of the minor child, who is the child of the grandparent or the grandchild of the great-grandparent, is deceased.  The court may then only grant visitation if the court finds all of the following to be true by clear and convincing evidence:

a. It is in the best interest of the child to grant such visitation;

b. The grandparent or great-grandparent had an established, substantial relationship with the child prior to filing the petition; and

c. The surviving parent's judgment has been impaired and the relative benefit to the child of granting visitation greatly outweighs any effect on the parent-child relationship.

Given the basic rule that a fit parent's decision to deny visitation to a grandparent and/or great-grandparent is in the best interest of a minor child, generally, in Iowa, grandparents and/or great-grandparents have an uphill batte when it comes to the pursuit of visitation. 

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