Grandparents’ Visitation

Divorce does not just affect parents, or children but extended families as well. Grandparents often wonder if they even have rights to their grandchildren now that the parents have divorced. Living with the loss of not being able to see their grandchildren is unimaginable.

The Supreme Court case dealing with the issue of grandparents’ rights is Troxel v. Granville 530 U.S. 57 (2000). The Court in Troxel, asserted that parents have the exclusive legal right to raise the children and determine their children’s relationships with any third parties, including grandparents. In other words, parents cannot be forced to allow grandparents’ visitation except in special circumstances.

Taking parents to court will do very little to resolve any ongoing conflict that resulted in the estrangement in the first place. Mediation is an option if the custodial parent is not willing to agree on visitation for grandparents. A third party attempting to gain visitation should be able to prove that visitation is in the best interest of the child. Grandparents might be required to show that the child will suffer harm if visitation is taken away.

Suing the child’s custodial parent for visitation is not a decision to be taken lightly; feelings get hurt and even in the best possible outcomes, hurt feelings can mean a hardened heart. It is always best to try to work it out with the parent if at all possible.

Communication sometimes is best facilitated with a mediator. Additionally a mediator may be able to facilitate a resolution that all parties agree to and feel comfortable with. Positive communication not only works toward resolution of the instant litigation/visitation issue but also establishes healthy relationships between the parties and children.

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