What are the grandparents’ relationship to your children?
The answer will vary greatly from family to family, of course as so many factors come into play. Grandparents’ age, health, proximity, relationship with their own children (and the in-laws), what the younger generation asks of them, and a host of other family-specific issues all play into the interaction between grandparent-grandchild.
It’s often another often overlooked complication in touchy child custody cases.
But that one oversight can result in a lifetime of unnecessary and often unintended heartache.
We all know that the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can benefit both generations, and parents, too. However, the Supreme Court has said that grandparents have no absolute rights with regards to seeing their grandchildren. And there’s no national law regarding grandparents’ visitation rights.
However, visitation rights can be protected by mentioning them in a divorce decree. In most cases, all a grandparent needs is approval of one of the parents.
If grandparents actively seek visitation, the best course of action is to discuss the issue with the parents. While laws vary from state to state, in most cases, all that’s needed is permission from one parent to secure those rights. The grandparents might start by asking the parent(s) what works best for them. Just approaching it from that viewpoint lets the parents know that the grandparents are putting the nuclear family’s needs first. Then based on that, the grandparents can start with a compromise plan—or the very one suggested by the parents if that works for them.
But every case will be different. Again, the variables and possibilities are too great to suggest a specific visitation schedule.
Grandparents’ visitation should if at all possible, stay within the family. A lawsuit for grandparent visitation is an option, and one that can be won, but there’s also a high probability for a lifetime of divisiveness.
Keep in mind that grandparents’ leverage is limited at best. They may want to see more of their grandchildren, but the parents have almost all the control.
How have grandparents played out in your custody case? Have grandparents been written into your court orders?
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