Do Siblings Have Any Visitation Rights?

Each state has specific guidelines for a sibling's visitation rights. In many cases, it depends on what is in the best interest of the child and can include many different factors. It can prove psychologically detrimental to separate siblings. He/she has a bond with the other child and could suffer depression if separated. Sibling rights are under the scope in recent years, and some of those situations are listed below.

Current Laws 

As of November 2015, no current law is federally mandated allowing the siblings to visit if the parent has custody and refuses the visit. The siblings also may not visit without a court order/petition even with the death of the custodial parent. Visitation will require a successful petition in the state where the child resides or if the new custodial parent allows the visits.

Adoption Services and Visitation

Research scientists and policy makers have discovered over recent decades the importance of siblings and the close connection shared. California, New York City, and Illinois shared daunting data of how over half of the children placed in foster care include one or more siblings. Of those children, approximately 75% of them are separated from one of more of his/her siblings.

According to the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, agencies placing siblings in foster care should make every effort to place the children together. Visitation should be allowed if the adoption services aren't able to place the siblings together.

Domestic Relations Ruling

It must be in the best interest of the child for a sibling to petition the court, and the petitioner must be a fit/proper person to receive visitation. The petitioner (sibling) must have attempted visitation and been refused within thirty days prior to the petition's filing date. The petition is usually allowed if there is no other feasible way for visitation without the court's intervention. Once again, it depends on your state's rulings. However, it can also depend on the siblings and their prior relationship and the reasons the visitation has been denied.

Uprooted families can cause a great deal of anxiety, grief, and pain which can make the child have a loss of identity when separated from family members. Siblings share a lifetime connection even after parents and possibly spouses are gone. Visitation rights depend on where you live as well as what restrictions apply before a petition can be documented. It might be time to check with the professionals for your area (like Topalian & Associates).