Mississippi law, under certain circumstances, allows grandparents to obtain reasonable visitation with their grandchildren. But what about great-grandparents? The Court of Appeals last week addressed that very issue for the first time.
The case, Lot v. Alexander, 2013-CA-00104-COA involved great-grandparents seeking the help from the Tate County Chancery Court. The Tate County Judge granted the visitation finding that the great-grandparents “. . . established a viable relationship with their great-grandchildren, (2) . . . were denied visitation rights, and (3) the visitation rights would be in the best interest of the children.”
The Court of Appeals, however, disagreed and overturned that ruling.
The court found that the applicable law ONLY applies to grandparents, not GREAT-grandparents. The statute, Miss. Code Ann. 93-16-3(1)-(2) only mentions “grandparents.” The court reasoned that because “great-grandparents” was not specifically mentioned in the statute, the law could not be extended further. To further bolster the opinion the court pointed to courts in Alabama and Indiana who had limited their state’s law.
The court also noted numerous states whose laws included “great-grandparents.” These included, Arizona, Arkansas, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Perhaps Mississippi’s legislature may need to to reevaluate our law.