Moriarity v. Brandt

On July 14, 2003, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld New Jersey's Grandparent Visitation Statute, N.J.S.A. § 9:2-7.1. The ACLU-NJ had filed an amicus brief arguing that the grandparent visitation statute in New Jersey was unconstitutional because it allows a court to grant grandparents and siblings visitation, over the objection of fit parents, on a "best interest of the child" standard. We further argued that the burden of proof in such cases should increase from a "preponderance of the evidence" standard to a "clear and convincing" standard. The current standards fail to give adequate protection to parents' rights. The State Supreme Court agreed with the ACLU-NJ that that the question for judges to address in such visitation cases was not what is in the "best interest of the child" but, rather, whether visitation is "necessary to avoid harm to the child." The Court nevertheless upheld the "preponderance of the evidence" standard for making such a showing. In November 2003, Moriarity petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the case. We await the Court's decision as to whether it will hear the case.

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