Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 7244

January Session, 2017

 

LCO No. 4890

 

*04890_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on JUDICIARY

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING A GRANDPARENT'S RIGHT TO VISITATION WITH HIS OR HER GRANDCHILD.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 46b-59 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2017):

(a) As used in this section, [:

(1) "Grandparent" means a grandparent or great-grandparent related to a minor child by (A) blood, (B) marriage, or (C) adoption of the minor child by a child of the grandparent; and

(2) "Real and significant harm"] "real and significant harm" means that the minor child is neglected, as defined in section 46b-120, or uncared for, as defined in said section.

(b) Any person, other than a grandparent, as defined in section 2 of this act, may submit a verified petition to the Superior Court for the right of visitation with any minor child. Such petition shall include specific and good-faith allegations that (1) a parent-like relationship exists between the person and the minor child, and (2) denial of visitation would cause real and significant harm. Subject to subsection [(e)] (d) of this section, the court shall grant the right of visitation with any minor child to any person if the court finds after hearing and by clear and convincing evidence that a parent-like relationship exists between the person and the minor child and denial of visitation would cause real and significant harm.

(c) In determining whether a parent-like relationship exists between the person and the minor child, the Superior Court may consider, but shall not be limited to, the following factors:

(1) The existence and length of a relationship between the person and the minor child prior to the submission of a petition pursuant to this section;

(2) The length of time that the relationship between the person and the minor child has been disrupted;

(3) The specific parent-like activities of the person seeking visitation toward the minor child;

(4) Any evidence that the person seeking visitation has unreasonably undermined the authority and discretion of the custodial parent;

(5) The significant absence of a parent from the life of a minor child;

(6) The death of one of the minor child's parents;

(7) The physical separation of the parents of the minor child;

(8) The fitness of the person seeking visitation; and

(9) The fitness of the custodial parent.

[(d) In determining whether a parent-like relationship exists between a grandparent seeking visitation pursuant to this section and a minor child, the Superior Court may consider, in addition to the factors enumerated in subsection (c) of this section, the history of regular contact and proof of a close and substantial relationship between the grandparent and the minor child.]

[(e)] (d) If the Superior Court grants the right of visitation pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the court shall set forth the terms and conditions of visitation including, but not limited to, the schedule of visitation, including the dates or days, time and place or places in which the visitation can occur, whether overnight visitation will be allowed and any other terms and conditions that the court determines are in the best interest of the minor child, provided such conditions shall not be contingent upon any order of financial support by the court. In determining the best interest of the minor child, the court shall consider the wishes of the minor child if such minor child is of sufficient age and capable of forming an intelligent opinion. In determining the terms and conditions of visitation, the court may consider (1) the effect that such visitation will have on the relationship between the parents or guardians of the minor child and the minor child, and (2) the effect on the minor child of any domestic violence that has occurred between or among the parents, [grandparents,] persons seeking visitation and the minor child.

[(f)] (e) Visitation rights granted in accordance with this section shall not be deemed to have created parental rights in the person or persons to whom such visitation rights are granted, nor shall such visitation rights be a ground for preventing the relocation of the custodial parent. The grant of such visitation rights shall not prevent any court of competent jurisdiction from thereafter acting upon the custody of such child, the parental rights with respect to such child or the adoption of such child and any such court may include in its decree an order terminating such visitation rights.

[(g)] (f) Upon motion, the court may order the payment of fees for another party, the attorney for the minor child, the guardian ad litem, or any expert by any party in accordance with such party's financial ability.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2017) (a) As used in this section, (1) "grandparent" means a grandparent or great-grandparent related to a minor child by blood, marriage or adoption of the minor child by a child of the grandparent, and (2) "unreasonably depriving the grandparent of the opportunity to visit with the minor child" includes, but is not limited to, denying a grandparent the opportunity to visit with the minor child for a period of time exceeding ninety days.

(b) Any grandparent may submit a verified petition to the Superior Court for the right of visitation with any minor child. The court shall grant the right of visitation with any minor child to any grandparent if the court finds after hearing and by clear and convincing evidence that: (1) The child's parents or guardians are unreasonably depriving the grandparent of the opportunity to visit with the minor child; (2) awarding the grandparent visitation will not interfere with the relationship between the minor child and the parents or guardians; and (3) (A) the minor child's parents or guardians are unfit, or (B) there are compelling circumstances to overcome the presumption that the decision by the parents or guardians to deny the grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the minor child.

(c) The court may award the prevailing party necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by or on behalf of the party, including costs and attorneys' fees.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2017

46b-59

Sec. 2

October 1, 2017

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To allow a grandparent the right of visitation with a minor child upon demonstrating to the court that clear and convincing circumstances support the granting of such visitation.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]