On November 25, proposed legislation to toughen up visitation rights of grandparents and siblings moved one step closer to final passage by vote of the Assembly Judicial Committee. The proposed bill, known as A-2945, would codify a decade old court decision holding that such applicants would be granted visitation over the objection of the custodial parent only if they can prove that a denial would be harmful to the child*.
Family law attorneys agree that this standard (which would require testimony by a mental health professional), is a very high legal hurdle to clear. A floor vote in the Assembly is expected before the end of the current “lame duck” legislative session.
*In Moriarty v. Bradt, 177 NJ 84 (2003) the New Jersey Supreme Court replaced the “best interests of the child” standard with a “potential for harm” standard.