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Ask the Divorced Guy!
by Dean Hughson
Title: Saving Private Ryan's Family
This weekend Saving Private Ryan opened at most boxoffices. The movie is a
blockbuster and it opens with a real ugly, bloody battle in the beginning.
It got me to thinking that Private Ryan, if he was a real person, would be
witnessing another battle right now. Probably he would be fighting, after a
bloody court battle, to gain access to his grandchildren.....a very common
thing in these divorce days. He saw a deadly battle once but this one is
equally as frustrating and unneeded.
Grandparents rights should be a given in my opinion. However in many
states grandparents have no standing. After a divorce a vindicative
ex-spouse can withhold access to the children. What has amazed me is that
some feminists I have met on the internet and even some men agree with this
stance. They feel that the custodial parent should have the final say on
who has access to the kids, even to the exclusion of family members. What
can be in the best interests of the children not to see a grandparent?
Well, I can understand if the grandparent is crazed or a dangerous felon
but that has to be a small group; just like parents who shouldn't have
access to the kids. Take a look at some research whose parents don't get to
see the children after a divorce
(http://ssc.wisc.edu/cde/nsfhwp/nsfh74ab.htm) and you will see that it's
often the fathers. I think that human rights groups, fathers rights
groups, mothers rights groups, men's groups, womens groups should be fighting
the battle to get laws in all of our states guaranteeing grandparents
access to the kids. Kids need grandparents and if we truly are concerned
about the best interests of kids we should work to be sure that they are
protected from whichever parent is trying to revise history and wipe out
the other parents family history.
A model state is Alabama. Take a look at their grandparents visitation law
at web site http://www.divorceinfo.com/algrandparents.htm
Check and see if your state has such a law. If not take a copy of this law
and visit a friendly state senator or representative and lobby to get a law
in place. Be sure you give support during the process because I guarantee
you NOW (http://www.now.org/) and ACES
(http://www.childsupport-aces.org/index.html) will be there in opposition
to the bill. Some groups such as ACFC (http://www.acfc.org/missn.htm)
have already set out grandparents rights as a mission.
How do you help your grandchild during a divorce? Dr. Eleanor Hamilton has
some advice at http://www.grandtimes.com/divorce.html
Margery Fridstein at
http://www.seniornews.com/snn-global-edition/article498.html has spoken
well to the problem also.
Cool, calm support to the grandkids is a very helpful thing.
For those of us who want to help families and perhaps our next
generation, who face divorce and the laws that are in place, we need to get
involved politically and help change the present system. You can make a
Dean Hughson, called the Dear Abby of Divorced Dads by the KC Star, is the founder of the DIVORCE HOMEPAGE. He has talked to thousands of people contemplating divorce, going through divorce, or the chaos afterwards and gives referrals and advice. He resides in Nevada, the state with the highest divorce rate in the US.
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