Section 1. Definitions
“Grandparent” is defined for the purposes of this Bill as the parent of a father or mother of the child. This bill applies to both the maternal and paternal grandparents of a child.
Section 2. Conditions for Visitation
Except as otherwise provided in this section, any grandparent may file an original action for visitation rights to a minor child if it is in the best interest of the minor child and one of the following conditions exist:
In the event one or both parents are deceased.
In the event the marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved.
In the event a parent of the child has abandoned the minor.
In the event the child was born out of wedlock.
In the event the child is living with biological parents, who are still married to each other, whether or not there is a broken relationship between either or both parents of the minor and the grandparent and either or both parents have used their prenatal authority to prohibit a relationship between the child and the grandparent.
No such visitation rights shall be granted if said minor child has been adopted by a person other than a stepparent of such child and any visitation rights granted pursuant to this section prior to such adoption of the said minor child shall be terminated upon such adoption without any further action of the court.
Section 3. Condition for Custody
Any grandparent may intervene in and seek to obtain visitation rights in any action when any court in this state has before it any question concerning the custody of a minor child.
Section 4. Determining Visitation
Upon the filing of an original action or upon intervention in an existing proceeding pursuant to sections 2 and 3, the court shall determine if visitation by the grandparent is in the best interests of the child. Visitation shall not be granted if the visitation would endanger the physical health of the child or impair the emotional development of the child. In determining the best interests of the child, the court shall consider:
The willingness of the grandparent or grandparents to encourage a close relationship between the child and the parent or parents.
The preference of the child, if the child is determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference.
The mental and physical health of the child.
The mental and physical health of the grandparents or grandparents.
Evidence of domestic violence inflicted by one parent upon the other parent or the child. If the court determines the evidence of domestic violence exists, visitation provisions shall be made in a manner protecting the child or children, parents, or grandparents from further abuse.
Other relevant factors in the circumstances, including the wishes of the parents.
Section 5. Revocation or amendment
After visitation rights have been granted to any grandparent, the legal custodian, guardian, or parent of the child may petition the court for revocation or amendment of the visitation rights, for good cause shown, which the court, in its discretion, may grant or deny. Unless evidence of abuse is alleged or other exceptional circumstances, a petition shall not be filed more than once in any two—year period.
Section 6. Guardian Ad Litem
If the court finds that the grandparent or grandparents can bear the cost without unreasonable financial hardship, the court, at the sole expense of the petition grandparent or grandparents, may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor child.
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