This month, MSJDN’s pro bono program, Justice for Military Families, completed a project that serves Gold Star parents. Our Grandparents Visitation Guide provides a roadmap for Gold Star parents who worry that their relationship with their grandchildren is suffering due to the loss of the servicemember parent.

Since we began our partnership with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) two years ago, our pro bono program, Justice for Military Families (JMF), has worked to provide the best pro bono legal service possible. After we started taking TAPS referrals for cases, we quickly faced a common problem. Parents of servicemembers who had died sought pro bono legal assistance to find a legal means to connect with their grandchildren.

Placements were difficult due to the complexity of these cases. As an alternative, JMF decided to create a state by state guide to the rights to grandparent visitation when they’ve lost a child.

Numerous military spouse attorneys invested their time and energy in research, and completed the information for a number of states. In addition, the effort benefitted tremendously from a relationship with an international law firm, Squire Patton Boggs, which utilized its considerable resources to complete the project.

The result is a comprehensive guide that explains the legal requirements for grandparents to petition courts for visitation with a grandchild when the child/parent has died. It provides information to families looking to establish their rights, as well as a guide for attorneys whom these families might hire to navigate the legal process.

“We hope that this guide is helpful to Gold Star families looking for answers.” said MSJDN President Eleanor Vuono.

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