Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Stuard v. Stuard (Cal. Ct. App. - March 1, 2016)

When the original opinion came out in January, I said that in an appropriate case, I thought it would make sense to think deeply whether taking a child away from admittedly fit parents and granting the child's grandparents twenty percent visitation -- a weekday overnight visit, one overnight weekend a month, and a seven-day vacation each summer -- might violate the parents' rights.

Today, the Court of Appeal amends its opinion to make clear that, in the present case, the appellant "provided no constitutional analysis of the facts upon which he now rests his as-applied challenge -- namely, the financial and practical day-to-day effects of the visitation order so disrupt his and Riley‟s life that the visitation order violates substantive due process."  The Court of Appeal essentially thinks the issue was waived.

Fair enough.

But let's be careful in the future.  If there really are trial courts who are giving out twenty percent visitation orders to grandparents over the objection of the child's fit parents, that's a big deal, IMHO.

Maybe this is a one off.  Maybe it's not.  Time will tell.