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Grandparent Visitation

Grandparent visitation: Pursuant to Moriarty v. Bradt, 177 N.J. 84(2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1177 (2004), the New Jersey Supreme Court concluded that the need to avoid harm to the child is “the only state interest warranting the implication of the State’s parens patriae jurisdiction to overcome the presumption in favor of a parent’s decision and to force grandparent visitation over the wishes of a fit parent.” Id. at 115. This is a natural corollary of the holding in Troxel v. Granville wherein the United States Supreme Court generally affirmed that by virtue of a fit parent’s fundamental due process right to raise his or her children, the parent is entitled to a presumption that he or she acts in the best interest of the child, and that the parent’s determination whether to permit visitation is entitled to “special weight.” 530 US 57, 67-69, 120 S.C.t. at 2062 – 63, 147 L.Ed. 2d at 57-59. As stated by the Supreme Court in Major v. McGuire – NJ (2016), “Trial court should encourage parties to mediate or arbitrate grandparent visitation actions in accordance with New Jersey’s strong policy in favor of Alternative Dispute Resolution. (See, Gere v. Louis, 209 N.J. 486, 500 (2012) (noting state’s policy in favor of Alternative Dispute Resolution); Mt. Hope Dev. Assocs. Vs. Mt. Hope Water Power Project L.P., 154 N.J. 141, 151 (1998) (same)).” Id. at 32.

For more information about your rights in divorce, please contact Chuck Vuotto at cvuotto@starrgern.com or by phone at his Roseland, NJ office (973) 403-9200. You may also read more articles on divorce at vuotto.com

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