Connecticut’s House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill on Tuesday that would allow grandparents to petition the court for scheduled visitation of their grandchildren in the event that the parents of their grandchildren divorced.
Under the proposed bill, the grandparents would be required to show that they had a close relationship with their minor grandchildren and that the grandchildren might be harmed if they were denied visitation with their grandparents.
In a statement published in The Connecticut Post, Rep. Andres Ayala Jr., D-Bridgeport said, “We are living in a time right now where the rights of folks to visit with their grandchildren are not being taken seriously. A great many of my constituents have reached out to tell me that they want to be involved in the lives of their grandchildren. They want to be there to provide proper upbringing. They want to be able to speak with them. They want to be able to share their love with them. And in some cases, unfortunately, it’s not happening.”
Some parents oppose the measure because they say that granting grandparents rights violates their parental rights and interferes with their freedom to determine how they raise their minor children and who their children associate with. Additionally, some parents claim that expanding visitation rights to non-parental family members could create a slippery slope that could extend court ordered visitation to aunts, uncles, great-grandparents and beyond.
A father of two that asked to remain anonymous stated, “This bill is a violation of my rights as a parent. My ex-wife and I stopped talking to her parents while we were still married. Neither of us want them around our children. They were verbally and emotionally abusive to my ex her whole life. Now a court can come in and undermine that decision and say we have to send our minor, impressionable children over there? What is the government thinking trying to legislate this? Why do these people assume every grandmother is a saint or that all parents are unfit or vindictive?” He went on to ask, “What I want to know is, do I lose out on a weekend every month with my kids that I pay child support for so they can enjoy all of the perks of my children without any of the responsibilities?”
The next stop for the bill will be the Senate.