What Rights do Grandparents Have Following their Children's Divorce?
Divorce and separation can be particularly traumatic times, but not only for the two individuals in question and any children. Frequently, grandparents are also part of the equation and understandably want to have some input when it comes to their long-term connections with the grandkids. As a grandparent, how can you not only get to see the kids regularly after the divorce is in place, but also ensure they are looked after properly on an ongoing basis?
Do You Have an Automatic Right?
As difficult as it may seem, the law does not give you an automatic right to see the children of your children in a situation like this. Unfortunately, sometimes the parents can try to cut the grandparents off for a variety of different reasons. This will all require a degree of creativity on your part, to say nothing of persistence.
Your First Step
You need to make it very clear to the parents that you would very much like to interact with the grandchildren after the dust has settled. Try and put forward a plan that allows you to see them, including details of where and when. Ideally, you will come up with an agreement that can be put into a parenting plan being prepared by the parents.
Presenting to the Court
If it is not possible to come to an amicable agreement in this way, you may be able to apply for consideration by the Family Court. Once again, come up with a detailed plan (which should of course be very reasonable on all counts) and present it. Certainly, if the court believes that this type of connection would be in the best interests of the grandchildren, they could make a decision to support you.
Worried about Their Welfare?
Different options are in place in the unusual situation where you worry about the welfare of the grandchildren when they are with one of the parents. This can be a particularly difficult and worrying time, but if you care strongly about the situation and are sure of your ground, then you can make a report to Child Protection and Family Services. You can also submit your worries to the Family Court, together with an offer to look after the children full-time, should this be your wish.
Mediation and More
Sometimes it is difficult to sit down with the parents, and in this case, you may have to consider mediation to further your case. Have a word with a family lawyer to make your situation that much stronger.