MacDonald bill would protect family visitation rights

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald has introduced legislation to outline the visitation rights of people wishing to spend time with a loved one who is legally incapacitated.

“Currently, the legal guardian of an incapacitated person in Michigan can restrict anyone — even close family members — from having any contact with their relative for any or no reason,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “No one should have to go through a situation where they cannot visit an elderly loved one during their greatest time of need.

“This is a commonsense reform to address the problem of children being denied access to a parent due to a dispute with the guardian — while also protecting our vulnerable citizens from abuse.”

Senate Bill 798 would stop a guardian from restricting access to an individual in their charge unless one of the following applies:
• The incapacitated person expresses via written communication that they do not wish to interact with another individual;
• The court finds that a restriction is necessary due to risk of harm to the incapacitated person;
• A personal protection order is in place against a person seeking access; or
• The guardian has good reason to believe that the individual is at risk of harm and the guardian documents the reason for this restriction to the individual’s place of residence.

SB 798 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for consideration.