COA Upholds Limitation on Grandparent Visitation | Speaker Law
phone icon email icon
(517) 482-8933

Speaker Law

COA Upholds Limitation on Grandparent Visitation

Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

In Brinkley v Brinkley, the Court of Appeals rejected appellants' argument that MCL 722.27b(5) unconstitutionally violates grandparents; due process and equal protection rights. The statutory provision grants deference to the decisions of the biological parents by providing that a grandparents' complaint or motion seeking visitation must be dismissed where two fit parents sign an affidavit opposing visitation.


In determining whether the provision passes constitutional muster, the Court declined to apply a strict scrutiny standard and clarified that grandparents do not have a fundamental right to a relationship with their grandchildren. The Court instead found that the rational basis standard was applicable because the case turned on issues concerning the rights of parents versus the rights of grandparents as opposed to issues of government interference with familial relationships.


Although the Court recognized that grandparents can play an important role in a child's life, it highlighted that the statutory scheme gives deference to parents' preferences, except in narrowly prescribed circumstances. To allow grandparents an opportunity to challenge an affidavit signed as directed by MCL 722.27b(5) would "thwart" the whole statutory scheme. Following that reasoning, the Court further concluded that the statute was rationally related to the legitimate purpose of preserving fit parents' fundamental right in managing the care, custody, and control of their children.


The Court also denied the grandparents' equal protection claim and found a rational basis for the legislature distinguishing between the class of grandparents who may seek court intervention, and those who may not. It illustrated the rational basis by noting that parents have the right to make decisions regarding their children's welfare, including contacts with grandparents, unless special circumstances justify state intervention. Those "special circumstances" recognized by the statute are all indicative of situations where the child's natural parents would not be able to make decisions in child's best interest and, thus, court action would be required.


This decision closes the door on grandparent visitation where both parents oppose grandparent visitation. In the case of parents v. grandparents, parents prevail once again.

Do you have an appeal?
Let's find out!


Law Firm May Collect Unpaid Fees Based On Contract Provision
Nov 23, 2021
A trial court properly awarded the plaintiff-attorney more than $78...
Appeals Court Strikes Down Parts Of Michigan’s Ballot Drive Law
Nov 17, 2021
The Michigan Court of Appeals has declared unconstitutional several...
Statute Authorizing Imposition Of Court Costs Is Constitutional
Nov 10, 2021
The defendant did not demonstrate that MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) – the ...
Plaintiff’s Fraud Did Not Necessitate ROPA Judgment Being Vacated
Nov 3, 2021
The trial court in this disputed parentage case properly held that,...



Subscribe to our blog

* indicates required