Two scenerios.... each very sad.
In case one, a husband and wife get a divorce. Their child lives with the mother. Dad sees the kid on the weekends. A year later, the mother is tragically killed in a car crash. The father takes over custody, but begins blocking the child's maternal grandparents from seeing their grandson. The father plans to move out-of-state and sever all ties.
In the other case, tragedy strikes a happily family. The father - who is also the family bredwinner - is suddenly killed by a heart attack. The stay-at-home mother now prepares to return to the work force. Sadly, the only good-paying job she can find is in another part of the country. She plans to move away with her daughter. The grandparents will be shut out of their lives.
Both cases are sad for different reasons. One for human maliciousness, the other for human circumstance. And in both cases, grandparents could sue under Wisconsin law. We are one of the few states that has parental rights for gransparents -- up to and including court-ordered visitation. But the law can't separte the two hypotheticals above. The vindictive father and the mother-earning-a-living are the same in the eyes of the law. And that's a huge government intrusion into parental responsibility.
This week, an appeals court upheld the grandparents visition statute.
There is something tragic about a grandparent that's shut off from their grandkids. It's the kind of situation where you hope the adults could work through their differences. But in asserting gransparents rights, important parental rights are being infringed on.
Operations Manager-Midwest Communications, Wausau