Grandparent Rights & Responsibilities
Grandparents often have questions about their rights and responsibilities relating to their grandchildren. In the research links below, you will find information about raising grandchildren, grandparent visitation, and guardianship. In addition, there are links to Wisconsin statutes relating to grandparents’ rights. Check the related topics section on the side bar for information relating to foster care and adoption.
How do I request visitation rights to see my grandchildren?
When a non-parent requests court ordered visitation with a child, it is called third party visitation. There isn’t a simple, one-size-fits-all process for this; it varies depending on the parents’ status and whether there is a case in the family court. Because third party visitation can be a complicated matter, getting legal advice is recommended. Ask a librarian for help researching sample forms from books or legal assistance organizations. More information about grandparent visitation is available in this memorandum from Wisconsin Legislative Council.
Is there help available for grandparents raising grandchildren?
There are a variety of resources available for grandparents raising grandchildren, ranging from support groups to financial assistance. Many of these resources are listed on grandfamilies.org. Usa.gov and AARP also have resources for grandparents raising grandchildren.
Some grandparents may be eligible to receive financial assistance through Kinship Care. Kinship Care is a program to help support children living with relatives. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website has more information. Select your county from the drop down menu to find contact information for your county agency.
How can I become a foster parent to my grandchildren?
Grandparents who become licensed foster parents may receive additional financial support and access to other resources. Learn more about foster care from the WI Dept. of Children and Families. Please see this legal guide from AARP for more information about options for grandparents raising grandchildren.Ask a Question
- WI Statutes: s. 48.925 "Visitation Rights of Certain Persons"
- WI Statutes: s. 48.978 "Appointment or Designation of Standby Guardian of a Child"
- WI Statutes: s. 49.90 Grandchild Support: Grandparent Liability Law
- WI Statutes: s. 767.43 "Visitation Rights of Certain Persons"
- WI Statutes: s. 948.22 Failure to Support, Grandchild Support
- S.A.M. v. Meister
On grandparent visitation.
- Children living with relatives (USA.gov)
Includes benefits & assistance, health & safety resources, reports & publications, and state resources.
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (AARP)
- Wisconsin’s Legal Guide For Grandparents & Other Relatives Raising Children (AARP)
- Guardianship (WI State Law Library)
- Power of Attorney (WI State Law Library)
- Visitation by grandparents and other third parties (WI Legislative Council)
- Grandparent Visitation Opinion: No Requirement of Significant Triggering Event (WI Opinion: 2011 WI App 122)
Recommended links from our County Resources database:
- Grandparents / relatives raising and nurturing dependent children (GRAND guide) (Waukesha Health and Human Services)
Local and statewide directory of resources for grandparent caregivers. Includes summaries of various legal issues such as child custody and visitation, guardianship, and adoption.
Library books & articles
- Advising older clients and their families
KFW 2491.A3 A743
- Grandparents' Rights: Your Legal Guide to Protecting Your Relationship with Your Grandchildren
KF 547.Z9 T78 2005
- Visitation by grandparents and other third parties
KFW 2418 .L43 2015-2016
Law Review Articles
- Grandparents need not establish a "significant triggering event" to assert visitation rights
State Bar News, August 5, 2011
- Survey of the Fifty States' Grandparent Visitation Statutes
10 Marquette Elder's Advisor 2 (2009)
- Raising the Children of the Opioid Epidemic: Solution and Support for Grandfamilies
- Wisconsin Supreme Court Clarifies Standard on Grandparent Visitation Rights
Wisbar News April 8, 2016
- Why Relative Placement Is Best for a Child in Need of Care
22 Children's Rights Litigation 12 (Fall 2019)