Over Alice’s objection, the trial court granted Cindy’s (paternal grandmother) petition for visitation with Alice’s child. Although the appellate standard of review was not an issue in the dispute, the appellate opinion raises the question of the correct standard.
The court first says: “A trial court’s determination regarding visitation is within its sound discretion, and this court will not disturb such a finding absent a showing of manifest injustice.” This opinion does not define “manifest injustice.”
However, the Second District Appellate Court affirmed because it could not find an abuse of discretion. “We can find no error in the trial court’s finding that Alice’s denial of visitation was harmful to E.H.’s mental, physical, or emotional health, and we find no abuse of discretion in the court’s order granting visitation.”
So is the right standard of review “manifest injustice” or “abuse of discretion?” In view of the court’s holding, you’d have to go with “abuse of discretion.” But a cautious brief writer has to work the “manifest injustice” idea into the argument as well. (Note — A dissent found an abuse of discretion, and did not discuss “manifest injustice.”)
Get the whole case, Flynn v. Henkel, No. 2-06-0573 (11/27/06), right here.