BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association encourages the further development of state law on grandparent visitation in accordance with the following guidelines.
1. Attorneys, court personnel and other professionals should be encouraged to refer persons involved in grandparent visitation disputes to appropriate mediation services. If possible such referrals should be made prior to the filing of any court action. Such mediation services should strive to develop agreements between the disputants regarding grandparent visitation, to reduce acrimony between the parties and to minimize any trauma for the child involved.
2. If the parties to a grandparent visitation dispute are unable to resolve the dispute prior to filing a court action, judges presiding in such cases should be encouraged to refer the parties to mediation. Such referrals to mediation should be made, upon motion by a party or sua sponte, if the judge determines that mediation may result in a satisfactory settlement of the dispute.
3. State legislatures should enumerate specific factors for courts to consider in determining whether grandparent visitation is in a child’s best interest, including such factors as the following:
a) the nature and quality of the relationship between the grandparent and the child, including such factors as whether emotional bonds have been established and whether the grandparent has enhanced or interfered with the parent-child relationship;
b) whether visitation will promote or disrupt the child’s psychological development;
c) whether visitation will create friction between the child and his or her parent(s);
d) whether visitation will provide support and stability for the child after a nuclear family disruption;
e) the capacity of the adults involved for future compromise and cooperation in matters involving the child;
f) the child’s wishes, if the child is able to freely form and express a preference; and
g) any other factor relevant to a fair and just determination regarding visitation.
4. State legislation or court rules should require judges presiding in grandparent visitation cases to appoint qualified guardians ad litem for the children involved in such disputes.