HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3281        FILED ON: 1/18/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1534


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Maria Duaime Robinson, (BY REQUEST)


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to grandparent visitation rights.






Date Added:

Laura Simonds

49 Edmands Rd. Apt. 325, Framingham, MA 01701


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3281        FILED ON: 1/18/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1534

By Ms. Robinson of Framingham (by request), a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1534) of Laura Simonds relative to grandparent visitation rights.  The Judiciary.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court



An Act relative to grandparent visitation rights.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Definitions

In this section, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:

“Grandparent” a parent of one's father or mother.

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.