Senate Bill 1322 — Visitation rights, grandparents

Parrish Miller 2020 Senate bill ratings Leave a Comment

Bill description: SB 1322 replaces and expands the code dealing with visitation rights for grandparents. 

Rating: +1

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

SB 1322 repeals Section 32-719, Idaho Code, which says, “The district court may grant reasonable visitation rights to grandparents or great-grandparents upon a proper showing that the visitation would be in the best interests of the child.”

SB 1322 creates a new chapter of Idaho Code to do substantially the same thing, but with some important additions. 

Specifically, it says, “The district court shall apply a rebuttable presumption in favor of a fit parent’s decision regarding visitation, which presumption can be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence that visitation would be in the best interests of the child.”

Additionally, SB 1322 says, “The district court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the parent when the court finds that the petition was brought or pursued unreasonably, frivolously, or without foundation.”

These provisions give additional priority to parental rights.

SB 1322 also defines the best interests of a child and includes “the wishes and preferences of the child as to visitation, if aged twelve (12) years or older.”

This provision serves to protect the personal autonomy of the children involved. 

(+1)