Final Blow to Grandparent Visitation

Today’s ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court in Spiker v. Spiker puts a definitive end to any lingering questions about grandparent visitation in Iowa. The court previously found the Iowa grandparent visitation statute unconstitutional on its face. In re Marriage of Howard, 661 N.W.2d 183, 187 (Iowa 2003). The Spiker decision holds that any pre-existing court orders will no longer be considered enforceable and will be vacated if challenged.

On a technical note, the decision contains an excellent discussion of several abstract legal principles, including law of the case, res judicata, issue preclusion, and claim preclusion, as well as a discussion of why so-called “final” judgments in custody and child support cases are not truly ever “final” judgments.