Divorce is ugly by nature. It’s the dissolution of promises. The death of a marriage. And when children are involved, the broken promises are magnified. Hearts are torn. What most families don’t understand is that we, as grandparents, are also affected. Divorce tears our family apart as well. Over the last few decades, new laws have started protecting grandparents’ rights.
Courts will grant visitation, and in some cases custody to grandparents. However, there must be certain conditions met. Each state has its own statutes.
It’s important to know the laws that govern grandparents’ rights in your home state.
One common denominator in all states is the consideration of what is in the “best interests of the child.”
This is so important, that grandparents.com has put together a guide for grandparent’s rights from state to state. You can find it here.
From grandparents.com – “The following factors in determining the best interests of the child are among those included in state statutes and case law:
- The needs of the child, including considerations of physical and emotional health of the child, the safety of the child, and the welfare of the child
- The capability of the parents and/or grandparents to meet the needs of the child
- The wishes of the parent(s) and the grandparent(s)
- The wishes of the child, if the child is capable of making decisions for himself or herself
- The strength of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
- The length of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
- Evidence of abuse or neglect by the parent(s) or grandparent(s)
- Evidence of substance abuse by the parent(s) or grandparent(s)
- The child’s adjustment to the home, school, or community
- The ability of the parent(s) or grandparent(s) to provide love, affection, and contact with the child
- The distance between the child and the parent(s) or grandparent(s)”
Grandparents’ rights are subject to requirements.
State statutes differ that provide for visitation by grandparents, according to grandparents.com. Therefore, it is important to fully understand the law.
In some states, the court will only consider visitation rights if visitation has been denied previously by the parents. Other states require that the grandchild must have lived with you.
Even though these children are our flesh and blood as well, in a divorce situation it doesn’t matter. We run the risk of losing contact with our grandchildren. That’s why it’s so important for us to remain neutral whenever possible. Otherwise, withholding our grandchildren can become a tool for punishment. And we don’t want that.