As we have blogged before, in light of the Constitutional protections given to parents, grandparent visitation is very hard to obtain because the grandparents have to show harm to a child to meet their burden.  What happens, however, if parties agree to grandparent visitation and the parent then either changes their mind or reconsiders decides

After the US Supreme Court decided Troxel v. Granville in 2000, invalidating Washington’s “breathtakingly broad” grandparent and third party visitation statute, there was an onslaught of litigation, nationwide, seeking to invalidate grandparent visitation statutes in each state.  Ultimately, in 2003 in the case of Moriarty v. Bradt (a case I was involved with), the New

An interesting part of the practice of family law are the rare issues; the one that may not walk through the door every day.  Grandparent visitation cases oftentimes fit into this category.  They nearly always prove interesting, regardless of whether you represent the grandparent(s) or the parent(s), and they can quickly become complex and difficult

For more than a decade, we have known that biological parents have certain constitutional protections that help them defend against grandparents or other third parties seeking visitation with their children.  In fact, in New Jersey, because a fit parent has a fundamental constitutional right to autonomy in child-rearing decisions, a grandparent who seeks a visitation

As reported in the online version of the New Jersey Law Journal, in a story by David Gialanella,, state Senator Loretta Weinberg of Bergen County introduced  legislation that would lower the burden of proof for grandparents and siblings seeking visitation.

In the year 2000, grandparent visitation became much more difficult to obtain as a result of the United States Supreme Court case of Troxel v. Granville which held that Washington’s "breathtakingly broad" grandparent visitation statute to be unconstitutional.  At issue was the constituonal right to parental autonomy vs. grandparents vistitation.  That case set off a wave a litigation nation wide attacking state’s grandparent visitation statutes.  New Jersey was not immune to this and in 2003, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided the case of Moriarty v. Bradt (a case in which I drafted the Petition for Certification.)  In Moriarty, the court held that grandparents may be awarded visitation over parental objections if a "potential for harm" standard can be shown by a preponderance of the evidence.  SInce that case, it has been much more difficult for grandparents to get visitation because it is very difficult to show harm, and just alleging generic harm was not enough.  We have blogged about this in the past.  In the cases I have had since that time, in order to successfully obtain grandparent visitation, you almost had to show that the grandparent took on a parental role for some period of time and/or was a constant presence in the child(rens) lives. 


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One would have hoped that Sean Goldman’s return to the United States with father David Goldman would have been the end of this years-long international saga.  Sadly, however, that may not be the case.  News reports yesterday indicated that 9-year old Sean’s Brazilian family will fight to regain “custody” of Sean, which is interesting since

Previously, Eric Solotoff, Esq. of my office  blogged on the issue of grandparent visitation in comparison to sibling visitation.  To check out his post, click here.

Moriarty v. Bradt, 177 NJ 84 (2003) is this state’s seminal decision on grandparent visitation as decided by our Supreme Court.  Our courts have held that there is a presumption favoring deference to a fit parent’s choice about visitation which must be overcome before the court may enter an order requiring visitation with grandparents on the ground that it would be in the child’s best interests.  Moriarty at 115, 117.  The US Supreme Court also addressed this issue in the matter of Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 120 S. Ct. 2054, 147 L. Ed. 2d 49 (2000).


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The issue of sibling visitation does not come up all that often.  However, it comes up often enough for there to be a statute that addresses it.  In fact, it is part of the same statute that provides for grandparent visitation.  The statute (N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1) provides, in part,  that:  " A grandparent or any sibling