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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Sen. Lynch Prata and Rep. Lombardi’s grandparent rights bill passes General Assembly
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) and Rep. John J. Lombardi’s (D-Dist. 8, Providence) legislation (
) that establishes guidelines for the Family Court to use in order to decide on petitions for visitation by grandparents passed the General Assembly tonight.
“Most importantly, this legislation is based upon the best interests of the child when there is a court petition for grandparent visitation. The guidelines for the court established in this bill will ensure that the best interests of the child will always be the main focus of any decision regarding visitation,” said Senator Lynch Prata, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary.
“This bill is about protecting the best interests of the child and whether seeing their grandparents would be good or bad for the child and it gives the courts the proper tools to make this determination to avoid any harm coming to the child,” said Representative Lombardi.
The guidelines to determine what is in the child’s best interest set forth in the legislation include the nature of the relationship between the child and the grandparents seeking visitation; the amount of time the grandparent and the child spent together; the potential detriments and benefits to the child of granting visitation; the potential effect of granting visitation on the parent-child relationship; the preferences of the child if the child is of sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience to express a preference in the matter; and the reasons that the parent or parents believe that it is not in their child’s best interests to have visitation with the grandparents.
The legislation also states that each petition must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The bill now heads to the governor for consideration.
For more information, contact:
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
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