Brief Fact Summary. The paternal grandparents brought a petition requesting visitation of their granddaughters. The mother agreed to some visitation, but did not agree to the extended visitation requested. Mother appealed the court’s granting of visitation as unconstitutional.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The court’s presumption that it is normally in the best interest of children to spend time with the grandparent failed to provide any protection for Granville’s fundamental constitutional right to make decisions concerning the rearing of her own daughters.
Facts. Tommie Granville and Brad Troxel had two daughters during their relationship, but never married. After the two separated, Brad lived with his parents (the daughters’ paternal grandparents) and regularly brought his daughters to their home for weekend visitation. He committed suicide, but the Troxel grandparents continued to see the daughters on a regular basis. Several months later Granville informed the Troxels that she wished to limit their visitation to one short visit per month. The Troxels filed a petition for visitation, requesting two weekends overnight visitation per month and two weeks of visitation each summer. Granville asked the court to order one day per month with no overnight stay. The Superior Court ordered visitation of one weekend per month, one week during the summer, and four hours on each of the Troxels’ birthdays. Granville appealed, during which time she married Kelly Wynn. The Washington Court of Appeals remanded the case, with the Superior Cour
t finding that the visitation was in the children’s best interests. Nine months later, Wynn adopted the daughters. The Court of Appeals reversed the order, finding that under statute nonparents lacked standing unless a custody action was pending. The Court did not pass on Granville’s constitutional challenge to the visitation statute.
Issue. Does the Washington statute allowing any person to petition for visitation rights at any time infringe on the liberty interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children?