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Mr. Hamden:

Thank you for your interesting commentary on this case. I agree that your additional fact (that the grandfather was the "adopted father of the deceased mother") is interested. I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean that he was adopted by his parents and then fathered the deceased mother?

In the adoption code, "relative" means "an individual who is related to the child within the fifth degree of consanguinity by marriage, blood, or adoption." MCL 710.22(t)

Also see MCL 710.60(1) and (2) which make it clear that adopted persons acquire status as natural born children of the adoptive parents. It seems logical to me that the Court of Appeals might analyze the case in this manner. Jeanne

I think you summarized the facts and analysis on this case very well. I actually argued the case before the trial court after the remand. The court bifurcated the trial, holding the first phase of the trial on whether their existed a “substantial risk of harm” to the adopted child.

After taking testimony from the “grandparents” on this case, it was determined that there was no risk at all and the court denied any grandparenting time.

A rather interesting issue that did not appear in the court of appeals or the trial court was whether the “grandparent” should be still be considered a grandfather when he was not the biological father of the deceased biological mother. In fact the grandfather attempting to get grandparenting time was only the adopted father of the deceased biological mother. I wonder if the court of appeals would give the same ruling had these facts been given to it?

Dominic N. Hamden
Attorney at Law

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