Grandparent’s Rights in Custody and Visitation

Within the past decade or two, there have been dramatic changes to what was once a very traditional relationship between grandparents and their grandchild(ren). The ever increasing divorce rate has probably been the single most predominant factor responsible for these changes. However, single parenthood, adult drug and alcohol abuse, as well as economic issues have contributed greatly as well, the results of which have brought about significant changes to what was once a very traditional family structure.

A large percentage of grandparents have petitioned the court in the hopes of obtaining a regular visitation schedule with the grandchild(ren). Quite naturally, as a by-product of these factors, the individual states have had to address the issues of non-parental custody and the visitation rights of grandparents. As is the case with other divorce-related issues, the laws with regards to grandparent custody and visitation differ from state to state.

What you need to know:
  • The Basic Rights of Grandparents: There are two basic rights with respect to grandparents and their grandchild(ren), custody and visitation.
  • Obtaining Court Ordered Visitation: In the past several years, many states have passed laws that grant rights to grandparents who seek court ordered visitation with their grandchild(ren).
  • Animosity Between Parents & Grandparents: In any situation where a grandparent goes to court in an attempt to secure visitation rights, it is naturally assumed that there must be animosity amongst the respective family members.
  • Grandparents Rearing Children: In all cases, there is a generally recognized need for emotional support. In some cases, the support and encouragement from other family members is enough. In others, the need for outside help arises.
  • Should You File for Visitation: There are a variety of circumstances in which it may be appropriate for a grandparent to file for visitation rights.
  • Understanding Your Rights and Options: Grandparent visitation rights issues usually come out of the ashes of a messy divorce.

Suggested Reading
Grandparents Rights
Are you having trouble seeing your grandchildren? Do you have a grandchild who is being neglected or abused? Do you know what your legal rights are? The answer to your problems may lie in this book.

Author: Traci Truly, Attorney at Law

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DON’T GO TO COURT – Grandparents who want visitation should try to negotiate with their adult children rather than taking the case to court. Like divorce, court battles among family members, however high minded, tend to make for lasting bitterness and recrimination.

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