Grandparent Visitation Rights
If your son or daughter is involved in a divorce, passed away or is otherwise estranged from you or their children, as a grandfather, you have a right to maintain visitation with your grandchild/ren. Often in a divorce, one parent is granted primary custody of a child which limits the amount of time the other parent has with their children. Many grandparents do not want to infringe on the limited time their son or daughter has to spend with their child/ren. In this case, it is a good idea to see if grandparent visitation rights can be included in the visitation arrangement agreed upon by the court.
Another reason you may want to seek formal visitation rights is if your son or daughter has passed away or has divorced their spouse and their spouse does not want your grandchildren to maintain contact with you. This can be a very difficult situation, but you are entitled to spend time with your children. Often times, you can seek a third-party to mediate a visitation agreement. Other situations may demand that you seek legal action.
While there are many reasons your rights as a grandparent to have a relationship with your grandchild/ren may be hindered, it is important to be aware that you do not have to stand idly by and forfeit any hope of a relationship with your grandchild/ren. If you are concerned about your visitation rights with your grandchild/ren, it is a good idea to consult an attorney with experience in third-party visitation to help you determine what your options are.
All states have statutes regarding third-party visitation and all statutes vary for each state. Therefore, it is important to be aware of what you are entitled to in your state. Be aware that grandparent rights are not intended to interfere with parent rights. Parent’s still have authority over their children’s lives and how they are raised. Also, grandparent rights are only granted when it is in the best interest of the child. If you can prove that you have an established relationship with your grandchild/ren that was positive, you may be able to restore your ability to spend time with that child. An attorney should be able to advise you on how to pursue grandparent visitation rights, help you understand those rights and help you fight for those rights.