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Report No. 257

D. Grand-parenting Time

5.5 When evaluating the best interest of a child for a custody order, courts are generally empowered to consider the child's relationship to friends, extended family members (including grandparents), and other important persons. In many jurisdictions, such relationships are expressly listed in the statutory factors for the best interest of a child standard.

Virginia state law, for example, requires a court to consider "[t]he needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members."130 Thus, courts can provide legal visitation rights to grandparents where appropriate.

130 Va. Code Ann. § 20-124.3; Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14-10-124(1.5)(a)(III) (a court must consider "The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, his or her siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests"); 15 V.S.A. § 665(b)(7) (a court must consider "the relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child").



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