As a grandparent, one of the most terrible things to consider is the idea of not being able to see your grandchild. If your grandchild’s parents are getting a divorce, you may be concerned that your child’s spouse will take action to prevent you from seeing your grandchild. Losing access is the last thing you want.
It is a complicated process to gain visitation rights as a grandparent, because the court does usually rule in favor of parents in these situations. However, there may be an opportunity to get court-ordered custody or visitation in some cases.
How can grandparents obtain the right to see or care for their grandchildren?
For a grandparent to obtain the right to see their grandchild, a court must find that one of the parents have had their rights terminated or is deceased, incarcerated or incompetent. You may be able to win custody or visitation rights if you can show that one of the parents is mentally ill or has substance abuse problems.
However, without those issues, grandparents may find that it is difficult to obtain custody or visitation time without the approval of both of the parents, even if they are divorced.
It’s important to remember that the court has the freedom to give a grandparent visitation rights if the parents have divorced and maintaining a relationship with the grandparent would be in the child’s best interests. Some other times when a grandparent may obtain visitation rights include if:
- The grandchild previously lived with the grandparent for at least six months and within the 24 months prior to the petition
- The grandchild has been adjudicated as a delinquent
- The grandchild was neglected or abused
If your grandchild was adopted by another couple, grandparents will lose the right to visitation under all circumstances except for if the adoption was completed by a stepparent.
If you’re concerned about your relationship with your grandchild being broken because of divorce, it’s a good idea to take the time to get to know your legal options. There may be steps you can take to get visitation rights established, so you can remain in their life.