A widowed father lost his bid Monday to have the Supreme Court decide whether grandparents should have court-ordered visits with his son.

The justices refused to get involved in the dispute between Shane Fausey, a federal-prison guard in Pennsylvania, and his dead wife’s mother.

Cheryl Hiller won rulings in Pennsylvania courts giving her regular visits with Fausey’s son, Kaelen, over the father’s objection.

Grandparents do not have to prove that being kept away would be harmful to their grandchildren in order to get court-ordered visitation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said.

Fausey said the court ruling violated his constitutional right to make parenting decisions.

The Supreme Court has never answered that constitutional question and state courts are divided on the issue. Twelve states prohibit courts from ordering grandparent visitation unless it can be shown that the child would be harmed by their absence, Fausey’s lawyers said in court papers.

The case is Fausey v. Hiller, 06-863.

SOURCE: New York Times and the following blogs by Grant Griffiths: Grandparent Visitation Blog, Kansas Family and Divorce Lawyer, Kansas Family Law Blog