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Grandparents May Have Visitation Rights in Washington!

Washington has a new law that allows for grandparents and other relatives by blood or marriage (including step-family members) the chance to gain visitation with a child who is not their own biological child. The non-parent must prove: (1) they have a strong relationship with the child; and, (2) that the child will suffer harm if visitation is not granted. Although the burden is high for grandparents to awarded visitation with their grandchildren, the door has been opened by the Washington State Legislature.

The new law (SB 5598) is complex and provides the non-parent only one chance to request visitation (known as the “one and done” clause). The law does not eliminate a parent’s strong rights under the U.S. Constitution to parent their child. This means that the non-parent asking for visitation has a high burden of proof!

For a consultation about non-parental visitation or other Family Law matters, contact Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP in Olympia or Centralia at (360) 736-1301.

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