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2013 House Bill 1934: Concerning visitation rights for persons, including grandparents, with an ongoing and substantial relationship with a child
  1. Introduced by Sen. Jamie Pedersen, (Seattle) (D) on February 19, 2013, establishes a process by which a person who is not the parent of a child may petition for visitation rights with the child if the person has established an ongoing and substantial relationship with the child. This act directs the court to grant visitation rights if the child would likely suffer harm or the substantial risk of harm if visitation between the petitioner and the child is not granted and if granting visitation between the child and petitioner is in the best interest of the child.
    • Referred to the House Judiciary Committee on February 19, 2013.
      • Substitute offered in the House on February 21, 2013, provides that an ongoing and substantial relationship may not be established based solely on a relationship that results from the person's role as a paid or volunteer service provider, such as a teacher, counselor, coach, or child care provider. Allows consideration of the financial resources of all parties when determining whether to order the petitioner to pay fees in advance. In addition, it requires the court to order the petitioner to pay costs and attorneys' fees if the petitioner brought the action in bad faith or without a reasonable basis.
    • Referred to the House Rules Committee on February 22, 2013.
      • Amendment offered by Rep. Mike Hope, (Lake Stevens) (R) on March 7, 2013, provides that an "ongoing and substantial relationship" must be based on a relationship with substantial continuity for at least two years (rather than at least one year), unless the child is under the age of two years, in which case there must be substantial continuity for at least half of the child's life.. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 7, 2013.
      • Amendment offered by Rep. Matt Manweller, (Ellensburg) (R) on March 7, 2013, adds "the love, affection, and strength of the current relationship between the child and the respondent" to the list of factors that a court shall consider when determining whether visitation is in the best interest of the child. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 7, 2013.
      • Amendment offered by Sen. Jamie Pedersen, (Seattle) (D) on March 7, 2013, clarifies that the petitioner must allege in his or her affidavit that the petitioner has an ongoing and substantial relationship with the child. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 7, 2013.
      • Amendment offered by Rep. Jay Rodne, (North Bend) (R) on March 7, 2013, clarifies that the petitioner must allege in his or her affidavit that the petitioner has an ongoing and substantial relationship with the child. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 7, 2013.
      • Amendment offered by Rep. Matt Shea, (Spokane Valley) (R) on March 7, 2013, provides that either the parent consented to or allowed the formation of the relationship, or the relationship formed as a result of the parent's unavailability or inability to perform caretaking functions, for a substantial period of time while the substantial relationship was being formed. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on March 7, 2013.
      • Amendment offered by Rep. Matt Shea, (Spokane Valley) (R) on March 7, 2013, amends the definition of "parent" to specify that the term means a "fit" biological, adoptive, or adjudicated parent. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 7, 2013.
  2. Passed 56 to 40 in the House on March 7, 2013, establishes new standards and procedures for a person who is not a parent to petition for visitation with a child, and repeals existing statutes relating to third-party visitation actions.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on March 11, 2013.
    • Referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee on March 11, 2013.

Comments

Re: 2013 House Bill 1934 (Concerning visitation rights for persons, including grandparents, with an ongoing and substantial relationship with a child)  by pstmct on March 13, 2013 

I am very thankful, and I am sorry if you are going through this kind of pain, but you assume too much, my wife and I have had to work though very tough issues with one of our kids, and I held then as I do now that the parents of those kids must be the ones to raise them. Our relationship with our child is very good now, but it took time, tears and hard work. None of that has anything to do with the issue; this bill will be used to harm children, whether by the grand parents that are angry with their own kids, or ones that just don't like the choices that their own kids have made about a variety of issues. It is not up to the government to decide to destroy a family, and just like a lot of divorces; the kids are the ones that suffer; being used as weapons against one another. Please do not try to tell me that this is not an obvious result of this kind of law. Do you really think that suing any parents to force them to give up time with their kids will endear them to the one suing them? If you have been one of the many that has been sued, did that experience make you think, oh this person is just doing this for my own good or the good of my child? I know that this is very painful for some grandparents; I've been there, but the risks for the kids, far out way the pain for those grandparents. We as a nation have become too quick to want the government to stick it's nose in and fix the problem for our individual problems while ignoring the whole of society, we pile on debt to fix our problems without any concern for the children that will have to pay it back. This bill has similar consequences; the children will pay to ease the pain of a few grandparents.  I hope that you are able to reconcile with your kids.



Re: 2013 House Bill 1934 (Concerning visitation rights for persons, including grandparents, with an ongoing and substantial relationship with a child)  by concernedgrandparent on March 13, 2013 

 You must have great kids, and you should be thankful.  There are situations where children get caught up in their parent's self destruction and the only real stability they have are their Grandparents.  It's good to hear that you have a good family and have not had to endure the sadness in your grandchild's eyes because they do not know what will happen next.  This bill is not for families like yours, it gives the children the chance to know all their family, because some parents are too young and jealous and vindictive and only think about themselves, not their children.  Those are the people who should be ashamed of themselves.  I can only hope that the Grandparents with good intentions use these rights, and pray that the courts do their job in finding what is best for the child.



Re: 2013 House Bill 1934 (Concerning visitation rights for persons, including grandparents, with an ongoing and substantial relationship with a child)  by pstmct on March 13, 2013 
What are these folks that voted for this bill thinking? As a Grandparent, why would anyone want to expose their own Grandchildren to the obvious chance of physical and emotional abuse that comes with this kind of parental rights destruction? If we had very bad relations with our children, so bad that they would cut us off from our Grand kids, then I would feel the need to reconcile and work it out with the parents of my Grand kids, rather than tear the Grand kids apart fighting between us. If we could not work things out, then I would just have to hope my cards and letters would get through, and let their parents do their job, raise those kids. This is a terrible bill, all of you that voted for this should be ashamed of yourselves, putting the emotions wants of some selfish grand parents above the welfare of the kids.

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