Child Custody

Grandparent Visitation Rights in Montana

Child Custody,General,Guardianship,Parenting Plans
In many families, parents and grandparents get along well and share time with minor children without issue.  Because that is not always the case, occasionally a grandparent will find themselves in the unenviable situation of asking a court to grant them time with their grandchild.
In Montana, third party contact is generally within a parent’s discretion.  Provided a parent is fit, the law generally allows a parent to determine whether or not their child has contact with grandparents, other relatives, etc.
Before a Montana court may grant a grandparent’s petition for grandparent-grandchild contact over the objection of a parent, the court must first determine if the parent is a fit parent.  When determining if a parent is fit, the court will examine whether or not a parent adequately cares for the child.

If the court determines the parent is unfit, the court then must make a determination if grandparent-grandchild contact would be in the best interest of the minor child.

If the court determines the parent is fit, a grandparent must show both: (1) grandparent-grandchild contact is in the child’s best interest; and (2) the presumption in favor of the parent’s wishes has been rebutted.

Occasionally,  parents and grandparents will enter into a specific visitation schedule.  Much like a parenting plan, a grandparent visitation schedule outlines specific dates and times the child is to spend with the grandparent.   In the event parents and grandparents make such an agreement, a drawn-out court process may be avoided.

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