October 4, 2013. Grandparent visitation is permitted under Iowa law, but it is a limited right. The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that a parent’s interest in the care, custody and control is his or her child is one of the oldest fundamental rights a parent can have. That being said, grandparents may have some limited rights. The Iowa courts have also held that a parent has the common law veto power over visitation between the child and all other third parties, except the noncustodial parent.
However, grandparents can petition the court to seek visitation in certain situations. To accomplish this, the grandparents must overcome a presumption that the parent’s decision to deny visitation is in the best interest of the child. The grandparents must show by clear and convincing evidence the following three things:
1) The grandparent has an established a substantial relationship with the child;
2) The parent who is being asked to temporarily relinquish care, custody, and control of the child to provide visitation is unfit to make the decision regarding visitation; and
3) It is in the best interest of the child to grand visitation.
While obtaining an order directing grandparent visitation is an uphill battle, the law does provide for situations where visitation is appropriate. If you find yourself in a situation where you think you may qualify for grandparent visitation, consult your attorney to discuss the best strategy to accomplish your goals. Goosmann Law can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 712.226.4000.