Adoption of RDS, Matter of, No. C-89-5

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBefore CARDINE; MACY
Citation787 P.2d 968
PartiesIn the Matter of the ADOPTION OF RDS. JS, Appellant (Petitioner), v. FV and CV, Appellees (Respondents).
Decision Date23 February 1990
Docket NumberNo. C-89-5

Page 968

787 P.2d 968
58 USLW 2523
In the Matter of the ADOPTION OF RDS.
JS, Appellant (Petitioner),
v.
FV and CV, Appellees (Respondents).
No. C-89-5.
Supreme Court of Wyoming.
Feb. 23, 1990.

Tony S. Lopez of Zimmers and Lopez, Laramie, for appellant.

Yvonne Wade Nagel of Pence and MacMillan, Laramie, for appellees.

Before CARDINE, C.J., and THOMAS, URBIGKIT, MACY and GOLDEN, JJ.

MACY, Justice.

Appellant, the maternal grandmother of RDS, appeals from an order of the district court, dismissing her petition for visitation rights with RDS. Appellees are the adoptive parents of RDS. The district court dismissed Appellant's petition for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

We affirm.

Appellant raises the following issues: 1

1. Did the district court abuse its discretion by granting Appellees' motion to dismiss without hearing the matter on its merits?

2. Did the district court err in deciding that the oral agreement between Appellant and Appellees was void?

3. Did the district court err in its interpretation of the grandparents' visitation statute by its refusal to consider what was in the best interest of the child?

Page 969

The record and materials filed in support of the petition reveal the following facts. 2 RDS was born to Appellant's daughter on March 9, 1983. According to RDS's mother, RDS's father was unknown. RDS's mother relinquished her parental rights, and, by an order entered on September 13, 1985, RDS became Appellees' adopted child. On June 2, 1989, Appellant petitioned the district court for visitation rights with RDS. In affidavits, Appellant made the following factual assertions: (1) Appellant was RDS's maternal grandmother and had been a primary caretaker of RDS; (2) RDS had resided with Appellant and her husband for substantial periods of time before the adoption occurred; (3) when Appellant's daughter decided to relinquish her parental rights, Appellant actively assisted in choosing the adoptive family; (4) Appellant advised her daughter to allow Appellees' adoption of RDS; (5) Appellees promised Appellant that she would always be able to see RDS; (6) Appellant spent time with RDS during Easter holidays from 1983 through 1987, Thanksgiving holidays from 1983 through 1986, and Christmas holidays from 1983 through 1986; (7) Appellant visited RDS at least once every month from April 1985 until August 1987; and (8) Appellant did not contact Appellees again until September 1988, at which time Appellees informed her that she would not be permitted to visit RDS.

On June 7, 1989, Appellees filed a motion to dismiss the petition for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The district court determined that Wyoming law does not provide for visitation rights under the circumstances of this case and that the alleged oral agreement between Appellant and Appellees was void under the statute of frauds. 3 The court granted Appellees' motion on August 7, 1989, and Appellant filed this appeal.

We begin our analysis with a recognition that, under the common law, 4 grandparents do not have a right to visit their grandchildren if forbidden by the parents. Morris v. Pressley, 494 So.2d 87 (Ala.Civ.App.1986); Annotation, Grandparents' Visitation Rights, 90 A.L.R.3d 222, 225 (1979). The Wyoming legislature enacted Wyo.Stat. § 20-2-113(c) (1977) to provide an exception to this common-law rule. See Note, The Constitutional Constraints on Grandparents' Visitation Statutes, 86 Colum.L.Rev. 118 (1986). Section 20-2-113(c) provides:

Subsequent to the death or remarriage of one (1) or both parents or after a divorce or judicial separation, the court may, upon petition of a grandparent, grant reasonable visitation rights to the grandparent of the children, if the court finds, after a hearing, that the visitation would be in the best interest of the child.

The reach of § 20-2-113(c) is limited by its unambiguous terms. 5

Page 970

Appellant takes issue with the district court's failure to conduct a hearing to...

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14 practice notes
  • Hede v. Gilstrap, No. 04-22.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • February 28, 2005
    ...900 P.2d at 1146; State By and Through Dept. of Family Services v. Jennings, 818 P.2d 1149, 1150 (Wyo.1991); Matter of Adoption of RDS, 787 P.2d 968, 969 (Wyo.1990). In that regard, neither act allows or requires that grandparent visitation rights survive adoption. The appellees argue that,......
  • Adoption of Francisco A., Matter of, No. 13358
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • November 29, 1993
    ...815 P.2d 747 (Utah Ct.App.1991); Bond v. Yount, 47 Page 1197 [116 N.M. 730] Wash.App. 181, 734 P.2d 39 (1987); In re Adoption of RDS, 787 P.2d 968 (Wyo.1990). Other jurisdictions have approved the practice in some circumstances. Reeves v. Bailey, 53 Cal.App.3d 1019, 126 Cal.Rptr. 51 (1975);......
  • Frame v. Nehls, Docket No. 102139
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • July 3, 1996
    ...e.g., King v. King, 828 S.W.2d 630, 632 (Ky., 1992), cert den 506 U.S. 941, 113 S.Ct. 378, 121 L.Ed.2d 289 (1992); In re Adoption of RDS, 787 P.2d 968, 969 (Wyo., 1990); White v. Jacobs, 198 Cal.App.3d 122, 124-125, 243 Cal.Rptr. 597 (1988); In re Guardianship of Green, 525 N.E.2d 634, 636 ......
  • Ailport v. Ailport, S-21-0166
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 31, 2022
    ...their grandchildren unless the parents allowed it. Michael v. Hertzler, 900 P.2d 1144, 1146 (Wyo. 1995) (citing Matter of Adoption of RDS, 787 P.2d 968 (Wyo. 1990) ). See also, Hede v. Gilstrap, 2005 WY 24, ¶ 33, 107 P.3d 158, 172 (Wyo. 2005) (historically, grandparent visitation rights der......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Hede v. Gilstrap, No. 04-22.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • February 28, 2005
    ...900 P.2d at 1146; State By and Through Dept. of Family Services v. Jennings, 818 P.2d 1149, 1150 (Wyo.1991); Matter of Adoption of RDS, 787 P.2d 968, 969 (Wyo.1990). In that regard, neither act allows or requires that grandparent visitation rights survive adoption. The appellees argue that,......
  • Adoption of Francisco A., Matter of, No. 13358
    • United States
    • New Mexico Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • November 29, 1993
    ...815 P.2d 747 (Utah Ct.App.1991); Bond v. Yount, 47 Page 1197 [116 N.M. 730] Wash.App. 181, 734 P.2d 39 (1987); In re Adoption of RDS, 787 P.2d 968 (Wyo.1990). Other jurisdictions have approved the practice in some circumstances. Reeves v. Bailey, 53 Cal.App.3d 1019, 126 Cal.Rptr. 51 (1975);......
  • Frame v. Nehls, Docket No. 102139
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • July 3, 1996
    ...e.g., King v. King, 828 S.W.2d 630, 632 (Ky., 1992), cert den 506 U.S. 941, 113 S.Ct. 378, 121 L.Ed.2d 289 (1992); In re Adoption of RDS, 787 P.2d 968, 969 (Wyo., 1990); White v. Jacobs, 198 Cal.App.3d 122, 124-125, 243 Cal.Rptr. 597 (1988); In re Guardianship of Green, 525 N.E.2d 634, 636 ......
  • Ailport v. Ailport, S-21-0166
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 31, 2022
    ...their grandchildren unless the parents allowed it. Michael v. Hertzler, 900 P.2d 1144, 1146 (Wyo. 1995) (citing Matter of Adoption of RDS, 787 P.2d 968 (Wyo. 1990) ). See also, Hede v. Gilstrap, 2005 WY 24, ¶ 33, 107 P.3d 158, 172 (Wyo. 2005) (historically, grandparent visitation rights der......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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