Rick Jones was on the Danny Bondaduce Show to talk about family law, divorce, and child custody in Washington. One caller had a question about her rights as a grandparent and whether or not she needed to get permission from both her daughter and son-in-law to take her grandchildren out of Washington. She describes her situation in the question below:
Caller: “I need to take my grandchildren down to Florida to visit family. My daughter and I have been estranged for three years due to drugs. I get to see the kids, who are teenagers, through their father. He has given his permission. Do I have to get my daughter’s permission to take them to Florida?”
In answering this question, Rick points out a common misconception about grandparents’ rights in Washington.
While many states have provisions to secure visitation rights for grandparents, Washington is one of the few states that does not have a law that secures those rights for grandparents. Therefore, while she will not need to get permission of both parents, this grandmother will need to rely on the allocated custody time of her son-in-law. Rick elaborates in his answer below:
Rick: “In most states you are right, but not in Washington. Unfortunately, when it comes to grandparents’ rights, the state of the law in Washington is fairy tough. Grandparents’ rights are nearly non-existent. You will only see grandparents get involved when a parent is incapable of filling the parent roll. In those instances, you may see a grandparent step in as a third-party custodian.
For now, you are going to need to rely upon the kindness of your daughter or your prior son-in-law to allocate some of their custody time to you. It won’t be considered kidnapping because you are there under your son-in-law’s custodial time by his permission. The best thing for you to do is to continue to get a parent’s permission to spend time with your grandchildren.”