A nonparent who wants to get court-ordered visitation with a child must be able to prove to the court that the parents of the child have unreasonably stopped them from being able to visit with the child. They must also prove that this has caused mental, physical, or emotional harm to the child. They must also prove that they are a grandparent, great-grandparent, step-parent, or sibling of the child.
Finally, the nonparent must show one of the following:
- The child was born out of wedlock, the parents are not living together, and parentage has been established;
- A parent is dead or has been missing for at least 90 days. They must have been reported as missing to the police;
- A parent of the child is incompetent;
- A parent has been in jail or prison for the last 90 days; or
- The child's parents are divorced or legally separated, or there is a pending divorce case or other case involving parental responsibilities or parenting time, and at least one parent does not object to the non-parent having visitation with the child.
The court will consider the following things when deciding whether or not to grant visitation:
- The wishes of the child, depending on their age and maturity;
- The mental and physical health of the child;
- The mental and physical health of the nonparent;
- The length and quality of the relationship between the child and the nonparent;
- The good faith (honesty) of the nonparent;
- The good faith (honesty) of the parents;
- How much visitation time is requested and whether it would get in the way of the child's normal activities;
- How much the child will be harmed without the visitation;
- Whether visitation can happen without exposing the child to disagreements between the parents;
- Whether the child lived with the nonparent for at least 6 months in a row;
- Whether the child visited with the non-parent for at least 12 months in a row; and
- Whether the non-parent was a main caretaker of the child for 6 months in a row within the last 2 years.
Updated: January 2017