Tags: Grandparents | Have | Visitation | Rights | Court | Rules

Grandparents Have No Visitation Rights, Court Rules

Friday, 07 September 2001 12:00 AM

The court ruled the Legislature acted sentimentally rather than constitutionally in adopting a state law that allowed grandparents to sue for court-ordered visitation despite parental objections.

In a decision released Thursday, the court affirmed the rights of parents but limited the decision to the "intact nuclear family."

The ruling stemmed from a suit filed by Joe and Lois Santi of Des Moines who helped raise their granddaughter, Taylor, for the first year of her life at her parents' request. For the past 2 1/2 years, Taylor's parents, Mike and Heather Santi of Des Moines, have refused to allow the child to see her grandparents.

Thomas Schlapkohl, a lawyer representing the grandparents, said his clients were disappointed they would not get to visit their now-5-year-old granddaughter.

The case began with a family dispute over a promised honeymoon cruise for Mike Santi and his new wife. The younger Santis also disagreed with the grandparents over buying Taylor's first pair of shoes, feeding her fast food and taking her to visit Santa Claus.

The grandparents sued for visitation in 1999 claiming they had been unreasonably denied visits with their granddaughter.

A lower court agreed but declared the state law unconstitutionally had violated the rights of the parents.

The grandparents appealed and the Iowa Supreme Court called the case "baffling and heartbreaking" but ruled parents have "constitutionally recognized rights ... to decide with whom their children will associate."

"They're weighing their options now, but my gut feeling is that this is the end of the line," attorney Schlapkohl told the Des Moines Register.

Heather Santi's parents see their granddaughter several times a month.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The court ruled the Legislature acted sentimentally rather than constitutionally in adopting a state law that allowed grandparents to sue for court-ordered visitation despite parental objections. In a decision released Thursday, the court affirmed the rights of parents but...
Grandparents,Have,Visitation,Rights,,Court,Rules
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2001-00-07
Friday, 07 September 2001 12:00 AM
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