TITLE 15
Domestic Relations

CHAPTER 15-5
Divorce and Separation

SECTION 15-5-24.3


§ 15-5-24.3. Visitation rights – Grandparents and siblings.

(a)(1) The family court, upon miscellaneous petition of a grandparent for visitation rights with the petitioner's grandchild, and upon notice to both parents of the child, and after a hearing on the petition, may grant reasonable rights of visitation of the grandchild to the petitioner.

(2) The court, in order to grant the petitioner reasonable rights of visitation, must find and set forth in writing the following findings of fact:

(i) That it is in the best interest of the grandchild as determined on a case-by-case basis that the petitioner is granted visitation rights with the grandchild.

In considering whether it is in the child's best interests, the court shall consider all the relevant factors including, but not limited to:

(A) The nature of the relationship between the child and the grandparent seeking visitation;

(B) The amount of time the grandparent and child spent together;

(C) The potential detriments and benefits to the child from granting visitation;

(D) The potential effect of granting visitation on the parent-child relationship;

(E) The preferences of the grandchild who is of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference; and

(F) The reasons that the parent(s) believe that it is not in their child's best interests to have visitation with the grandparent(s);

(ii) That the petitioner is a fit and proper person to have visitation rights with the grandchild;

(iii) That the petitioner has repeatedly attempted to visit his or her grandchild during the thirty (30) days immediately preceding the date the petition was filed and was not allowed to visit the grandchild during the thirty-day (30) period as a direct result of the actions of either, or both, parents of the grandchild;

(iv) That there is no other way the petitioner is able to visit his or her grandchild without court intervention; and

(v) That the petitioner, by clear and convincing evidence, has successfully rebutted the presumption that the parent's decision to refuse the grandparent visitation with the grandchild was reasonable.

(vi) The court may assess the reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the parent(s) to the grandparent(s) if the petition for visitation is denied.

(b)(1) The family court, upon miscellaneous petition of, or on behalf of, a sibling(s) for visitation rights with a minor brother(s), and/or step-brother(s), and/or sister(s), and/or step-sister(s) of the sibling(s) and upon notice to both parents of the minor, and after a hearing on the petition, may grant reasonable rights of visitation of the minor to a sibling(s).

(2) The court, in order to grant a sibling reasonable rights of visitation, must find and set forth in writing the following findings of fact:

(i) That it is in the best interest of the minor that a sibling(s) be granted visitation rights with the minor;

(ii) That the sibling(s) is a fit and proper person to have visitation rights with the minor;

(iii) That the sibling(s) was not allowed to visit the minor during the thirty-day (30) period immediately preceding the date the petition was filed as a direct result of the actions of either, or both, parents or guardians of the minor;

(iv) That there is no other way the sibling(s) is able to visit the minor without court intervention; and

(v) That the sibling(s), by clear and convincing evidence, has successfully rebutted the presumption that the parental decision to refuse the visitation with the minor was reasonable.

(c) The court may issue all necessary orders relative to the visitation rights it has granted. Once a petition has been granted, notice of any petition seeking a change in custody or visitation shall be served on the petitioner.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1988, ch. 200, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 52, § 1; P.L. 1996, ch. 42, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 133, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 190, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 200, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 222, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 334, § 1.)