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GRANDPARENTS DENIED VISITATION BECAUSE THEY WERE NEVER PERMITTED TO VISIT BEFORE!

Mississippi has a grandparent visitation statute which allows parents of deceased children to visit with their grandchildren. It also permits grandparents to force their child to allow visitation with their grandchildren where they had established a viable relationship with their grandchildren but were being denied access. The case of Aydelott v. Quartaro, No. 2011–COA–01880 (6/4/13) demonstrates where interpretation of specific rights governed by statute can lead to unjust results. In that case, the Court of Appeals denied grandparents the right to have visitation with their grandchildren--which was being refused by the parents--on the ground the grandparents could not show they had a “viable relationship” with the grandchildren. Ironically, the only reason the grandparents did not have a viable relationship with their children is because the parents would not let them. Even though the trial judge sided with the grandparents on the basis of the conduct of the parents, the Court of Appeals reversed and denied the access. Sounds like a strict interpretation of a statute gone awry from its purpose.