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Should grandparents fight for visitation rights?

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While the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is often recognized as crucial in a child’s growth and maturity, grandparents do not often enjoy a legal right of access. During a divorce, the parents often ignore the grandparents while discussing custody, visitation and the parenting plan. This results in the eradication of a loving segment of the child’s life. Fortunately, grandparents can fight to retain visitation rights during and after the divorce process concludes.

Even though the court is hesitant to grant custody rights outside of severe circumstances, the courts often find it more reasonable to grant visitation rights. These are not automatic rights, however, and the grandparent must seek to legally establish these rights. Without legal rights established, one of the divorced parents could argue against visitation on numerous grounds, including:

  • Alienation in which the parent argues that the grandparent is turning the child against him or her.
  • Questioning parental authority by openly discussing with the child the incorrect nature of a parent’s rules or punishment.
  • Refusing to follow the parent’s instructions as they relate to a punishment, entertainment restrictions, food restrictions or bedtimes.

Many of these scenarios can quickly deteriorate into heated familial disputes. Even in a he-said-she-said style argument, grandparents are wise to ensure the court has legally protected them from the loss of visitation rights.

Even if divorce represents the best solution for a family’s future, numerous disagreements and challenges often punctuate the process. These emotional disputes can lead to a difficult post-divorce arrangement. The court seeks to create a situation that serves the best interests of the children in all cases. Grandparents should take steps to ensure the court grants them the legal right to be a part of their grandchild’s life long after the divorce.

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