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The Court's Decision

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!: Do Grandparents Have the Legal Right to See their Grandchildren? The Verdict

Some state courts have ruled that grandparent visitations violate federal and state constitutions.

The Maryland Court of Appeals reasoned that the U.S. Constitution protects the Koshkos’ right to parent and that making visitation decisions is significant to this right. Maryland’s Grandparent Visitation Statute directly and substantially interfered with the Koshkos’ rights, the court ruled, by allowing the state to become involved in the parents’ decision-making process. Before the lower court could order grandparent visitations, it had to first find that either the Koshkos were unfit parents or that there was an exceptional circumstance requiring the grandparents’ visit. The Court of Appeals sent the case back to the lower court to make this determination.

On April 7, 2008, the Circuit Court found no reason to interfere with the Koshkos’ parental rights. If the Hainings wanted to see their grandchildren, it was up to Andrea and Glen Koshko.

Read the grandparent visitation laws in your state.

Robin Gerber is a lawyer and the author of Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.

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