Can Grandparents Have Visitation of Grandchildren?
Children and grandparents form strong bonds. When a marriage dissolves, the relationship between grandparent and grandchild can become strained or more complex. Some grandparents may fear that they won’t be able to see their grandchildren. If you’re concerned about not seeing your grandchildren, here is what you need to know about grandparents and visitation.
Go To Mediation First
If you are worried about visitation with your grandkids, you should speak with the parents first. You may be surprised to find that the parents do not want to see the grandparent-child relationship deteriorate because of a divorce or separation.
Most visitation agreements are made during mediation. You, the child’s parents, and a third party can meet to discuss your concerns as a grandparent. The point of mediation is for all parties to reach an agreement. However, if you are unable to, there are other options.
Petition the Court
If you and the parents cannot come to an agreement through mediation, you can petition the court for a visitation order. All states have statutes that consider grandparent visitation. You have the right to petition the court for a time and date to visit with your grandchildren. To find out the type of statute that your state has, you should speak with a family lawyer as soon as possible.
States with restrictive visitation statutes only allow you to have visitation if the child’s parents are divorced or deceased. In these states, the court will assess whether it is in the best interests of the child. The court will also determine whether the grandparent’s visitation will interfere with the child’s relationship with his or her parents.
Most states have permissive statutes. In these states, if you can prove that you have a consistent and caring relationship with your grandchild, then the court will normally grant visitation orders to the grandparents. Keep in mind that if the parent fights the visitation order, the courts may side with the parents’ right to control the child’s upbringing.
When it comes to your relationship with your grandchildren, you want to be able to keep that bond no matter if the parents are separated. If you’re concerned that you may no longer have visitation with your grandchildren, contact a family lawyer as soon as possible. He or she can advise you on what steps you should take and guide you through the process to receive some form of visitation.