A 4th District Appellate Court has upheld a trial judge's decision to allow a set of grandparents to be able to have their grandchild stay with them every other weekend. However, the battle is not over for these grandparents as now they have to wait and see what happens with the four contempt of court petitions they filed since the mother and child have now moved out-of-state.
The entire child visitation ordeal stems back to November of 2008 when the father was shot and killed by his estranged wife's grandmother. In that case, the now 75-year-old grandmother is serving a 70 year sentence for the murder.
However, it is believed that before the slaying the mother was not allowing the father to have court-ordered non-supervised visits with his daughter, and that the killing even happened the night before a judge was expected to grant the father even more visitation rights with his little girl.
Throughout, the girl's grandparents have being trying to be an active part of their grandchild's life, and decided to take the mother of their grandchild to court for visitation rights. From there a judge did rule in favor of the every-other-weekend agreement, however, since then the mother moved out of state, and the child was not with her grandparents during the court-ordered weekend visits.
According to sources, after missing two weekends in November and December the mother did text message the grandparents - who live in Illinois - to let them know that she and her daughter did move out of the state, but that they were free to come visit. When they asked where the two were living, the grandparents reportedly heard nothing back. Now it's known that she is living in Florida.
Throughout this ordeal the mother of the child was also attempting to have the trial court's decision overturned, however an appeals court did support that the grandparents have visitation rights every other weekend, which the grandparents intend to uphold - even if the two are living out of state.
And while this case happens between Illinois and Florida, a similar case could present itself in a state like Missouri where there are laws protecting grandparents' rights. In cases where one parent is deceased - or even if parents are just divorced - grandparents do have legal rights to see their grandchild, and can take legal action if they are being denied visitation.
Source: Jacksonville Journal-Courier, "Appeals court sides with grandparents in Watkins visitation," Maria Nagle, 7 Feb 2011