With the rise in divorce rates and one parent families in the United States, grandparents are being left in its wake a casualty that often goes unnoticed. Grandparents that once had a close relationship to their grandchildren are finding themselves unable to stay active in their lives due to acrimonious divorce of their adult children and/or the lack of cooperation with one or both parents.
There is a misconception that in the legal sense, grandparents are left at the mercy of the divorced parents of their grandchildren if they wish to remain a part of their lives. The visitation rights of grandparents has taken new notice in family courts throughout the country. While each state has its own set of legal rights involving grandparents, there are three rights that most grandparents are not aware of.
The Right To Petition The Court
Grandparents have the right to petition the family court in their state for a review of potential visitation and/or custody arrangements regarding their grandchildren. While the proceedings and steps to take may differ from state to state, getting in touch with the court to find out specific rules and regulations.
The Right To File A Lawsuit In Family Court
In several states, if grandparents wish to seek court ordered visitation with their grandchildren, a lawsuit may be filed and facts regarding the request for visitation through the court will be reviewed.
The Right To Seek Out Mediation
A less adverse approach to a lawsuit or court proceedings, seeking out mediation in an effort to come to an amicable visitation agreement may help the grandparents establish better communication with the parent(s) objecting to prospective visitation. Utilizing mediation services through such avenues as family counseling or third party negotiating may help bring the two parties closer to understanding and remedying the issues surrounding visitation.
There are many factors that stand in the way of a grandparent’s right to have a relevant role in the lives of their grandchildren. Unfortunately, not all states are in agreement with the rights of grandparents. As the dynamics of traditional family structure continue to change, the rights of grandparents will hopefully follow suit.