Great-grandparents push for expanded rights to honor deceased boy

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, April 25, 2013.

For people in Missouri who have grandchildren for whom they might want to have custody, court battles can end in heartbreak. While some judges do have concern for grandparents’ rights in child custody cases, oftentimes the presumption is that a child’s biological parents, if they are around, are the best choice to raise their children.

However, many grandparents and even great-grandparents have tried to step in when they felt that the parents were not capable of handling the task. Unfortunately for them, their pleas often fall upon deaf ears.

One especially sad case comes to us from the state of Washington. A couple engaged in a court battle with their granddaughter for custody of her son — the couple’s great-grandson — against the boy’s father. The two sides each contended that the other side was not fit to have custody. During the time the battle raged, the woman and her son lived with the couple.

However, the woman died in March of a possible drug overdose. The great-grandparents felt that the boy’s father was a habitual drug user and wanted to prevent him from taking custody of the boy. The couple won primary custody via a temporary stay, but the boy’s father retained visitation rights on weekends.

The boy and his father were both killed in a car crash in Oregon over the weekend. The great-grandparents say that the boy would still be alive if they did not have to allow his father to spend time with him. The couple is now lobbying for a change to their state laws regarding grandparents’ rights.

Source: The Daily News, “Great-grandparents: Changes to custody laws may have saved young crash victim,” Barbara LaBoe, April 24, 2013

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