Grandparents are important to the overall family dynamic. In fact, many grandparents help with the care of their grandchildren as parents work. For this reason, grandparents may seek visitation or custody of grandchildren when parents separate or divorce. However, grandparent rights are not guaranteed under family law.
In a Newsweek interview, a child custody expert stated that the rights of custodial parents supersede the wishes of grandparents who file requests for visitation. Courts across the country tend to rule in favor of the parents, citing Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), in which the Supreme Court found that parents have the legal right to decide who has custody of their children. This includes deciding who their children are permitted to be around and interact with which applies to grandparents. Regardless of the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren, the custodial parent has full authority to allow or deny visitation.
To improve grandparents’ chances of being able to visit their grandchildren, the child custody expert recommends that grandparents not take sides during the separation or divorce. Instead, provide unbiased support to both parents. This can be challenging especially if one of the parents is responsible for the separation because of their actions. Try to establish visitation directly with the parents without resorting to legal action. This is easier for everyone involved, especially the children. It is difficult enough when a family goes through a divorce. Grandparents can remain actively involved in the lives of their grandchildren when they remain neutral and focus their attention on their grandchildren.