Grandparents and Visitation Rights

It is a grandparent’s natural born right to spoil their grandchildren, see them whenever they want and play a big role in their lives. While this is generally the way things work out, many grandparents are not so lucky. Instead of having the ability to form relationships with their grandchildren, they are cut out of their lives due to divorce and other issues.

When a less-than-ideal situation arises, grandparents are sometimes able to successfully exercise legal rights to see their grandchildren. How effective an effort will be to force the custodial parent’s hand will depend on a number of factors, including the state in which the grandchild happens to live.

If you are facing a lack of interaction with your grandchild and want to make an attempt to remedy the situation, there are a few things you can do. It is often best to start out with the least confrontational approach and move up in pushing any rights you may have accordingly. With this in mind, to retain your ability to see your grandchild consider doing these things:

Getting yourself mentioned in the divorce papers – If a divorce has not yet gone through and you see the potential for trouble on the horizon, ask the divorcing parents to include a visitation schedule for you in their divorce agreement. This can help you establish your rights and enable you to avoid problems down the road.

Working directly with the parent – If you have been barred from seeing a grandchild because of a divorce, speak with the custodial parent directly. Try to appeal to the parent and explain your desire to be a help and an outlet for support for the child. Be as non-confrontational as possible and make sure your desire to put the child’s best interests first is known.

Going through a mediator – Trained mediators can often help grandparents press their case without having to take it to court. They can assist with the creation of a visitation agreement and help make sure that all parties feel like they’ve gained something as part of the process.

Keeping in touch anyway – If you cannot physically see your grandchild for whatever reason, do not give up on trying to establish contact. Send presents and cards, place telephone calls and so on. Doing these things can help prove your interest and may help you if you do have to go through mediation or go to court.

Hiring legal assistance – The laws regarding grandparents’ visitation rights do vary from state to state. Still, it is sometimes possible to sue for and obtain assistance in resolving the matter. Keep in mind that this option can be time consuming and costly. If all other methods fail, however, legal action may be in order.

Losing the ability to contact and see a grandchild due to a family situation beyond your control can be heart wrenching. There are things that can be done to help remedy the problems for the good of the child.