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Grandparent and Nonparent Custody and Visitation After Divorce or Death

Litigation Strategies and Proactive Steps to Protect Rights

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide family law attorneys through disputes over the rights of nonparents--frequently grandparents--to maintain a relationship with children after a divorce or death of the parent or the adoption of a grandchild. The panel will explore litigation strategies and proactive steps to protect child and grandparent rights.


The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can be healthy, positive, and important. The Supreme Court case of Troxel v. Granville holds that the "fundamental right of parents to rear their children" includes the ability to manage the grandchild/grandparent relationship. This ruling strengthens parents' ability to exclude a grandparent.

The two most common situations arise when a child's parent dies, or the parents divorce, and the surviving or custodial spouse may cut off the grandparent relationship. The issue also occurs when the grandchild is adopted. In extreme instances, living and married parents may refuse a connection between their child and the grandparents.

Expensive litigation is inevitable when the parties are wedded to emotionally driven positions.

Grandparents can control some variables if litigation results. Courts consider the existing relationship and value a long-term, loving relationship. In a problem situation, the grandparent should continue efforts to stay in touch with the child, such as mailing cards and gifts, and keep a record of attempted contact with the grandchild.

Listen as the panel discusses this legally evolving issue and provides valuable guidance in responding to client concerns.



  1. Legal bases of grandparents and nonparent rights
    1. Constitutional issues (Troxel v. Granville)
    2. State statutes
      1. Types of rights granted
      2. Interaction with Troxel
    3. Significant case law
  2. Proactive steps
    1. Legal drafting
    2. Prenuptial
    3. Divorce
    4. Estate
  3. Relationship maintenance
  4. Litigating the issue
    1. Evidence issues
    2. Influencing judicial discretion


The panel will review these and other high priority matters:

  • Constitutional issues relating to grandparents' rights
  • Interpretation of state statutes in light of constitutional issues
  • Steps to preserve and protect grandparents' rights


Canale, David
David A. Canale

Meriwether & Tharp

Mr. Canale currently practices in all areas of domestic relations and family law.

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Goldberg, Michael
Michael K. (Mike) Goldberg

Managing Partner
Goldberg Law Group

Mr. Goldberg received his Juris Doctorate in 1992 from the University of Illinois College of Law. He received his...  |  Read More

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