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5/4/2017 Sen. Lynch Prata’s grandparent rights bill passes Senate
STATE HOUSE – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata’s (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) legislation (2017-S 0383) that establishes guidelines for the family court to use in order to decide on petitions for visitation by grandparents passed the Senate tonight.  The legislation is a result of the Senate Commission to Conduct a Comprehensive Review and Make Recommendations Regarding Grandparent Rights which is chaired by Senator Lynch Prata.

“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.

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.
Cosponsors of the legislation are Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston), Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton), Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. Smithfield, Johnston, North Providence), and Sen. William J. Conley, Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket).

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903