From State Rep. Andres Ayala:
Rep. Andres Ayala (D-Bridgeport) Tuesday applauded House passage of a bill that will allow grandparents a process to petition the court to have visitation rights with their grandchildren.
“I have been working with constituents who are grandparents and are currently experiencing visitation issues and this bill will give them an opportunity to petition the court for that right,” Rep. Ayala said. “This bill will help give them access to their grandchildren and play a role in their raising. I firmly believe the more caring, loving and interested individuals in a child’s life the better the chances at success.”
House Bill 5540, based on recommendations of a task force on grandparents’ visitation rights, gives grandparents and other third parties a defined process for seeking visitation rights via court petition. The legislation is in response to a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling that denied a visitation petition, which had previously been approved by a lower court.
Specifically the legislation requires a grandparents’ visitation petition to include a showing of specific information including the existence of a parent-like relationship and activities, and that a denial of visitation rights could cause harm to the child. The bill then requires a court to hold a hearing and grant the request if clear and convincing evidence has shown such conditions exist.
The state Department of Children and Families participated on the task force and supports the bill which they said, “balances the constitutional right of parents to make decisions in the best interests of their children, with the desire of grandparents to be an important part of their grandchildren’s lives.”
The bill now goes to the Senate for approval.