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Grandparent rights debate heating up nationwide

Every parent has their own unique parenting style, however, many people when starting to raise a child look to their own parents, the child's grandparents, for advice and guidance on everything from diaper changing to discipline. Although grandparents can play an important role in raising a young child, some parent's don't want any interference from their child's grandparents. Is it their right to restrict access of grandparents to children? Grandparent rights are exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court will address this winter.

A hodge-podge of legislation across the country has made it unclear what right's parents have to limit the grandparent-child relationship. According to The Huffington Post, every state has laws about third-party visitation rights; however they cannot impede the rights of competent parents. Many grandparent's in the Pittsburgh area want to be a part of their grandchildren's lives, and the value of that relationship is very important.

The states all seem to have different guidelines for who has a right to visit children. Sometimes there are circumstances of divorce, remarriage and death of one parent that can lead to disputes with grandparents because a parent might not be competent. When one or both parents can't properly care for their children, the relationship that those children have with their grandparents is even more important.

Many grandparents don't understand what rights they have under their state's law because there are so many varying reports and different circumstances in each case. Soon, the Supreme Court may put an end to the ambiguity, and grandparents may have a clearer picture as to what visitation rights they are entitled to. Should grandparents have rights to visit their grandchildren?

Source: The Huffington Post, "States' Grandparent Visitation Laws Raise Concern," Stephanie Reitz, Nov. 5, 2011

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