Grandparents relationships’ with their grandchildren are special because they can teach important skills and provide valuable connections to earlier eras. Grandchildren can cherish the memories made with their grandparents for decades and can, in turn, pass the knowledge and joy gained in those lessons and experiences on to their children and grandchildren.
Parents have the ultimate decision
While often difficult for children, divorce does not have to impact their relationships with grandparents. Often both parents agree that children maintain relationships with both sets of grandparents. But, divorce can negatively affect those relationships, as well, in which case grandparents might try to sue for visitation or even custody.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled grandparents do not have legal rights to their grandchildren. Parents retain rights to make choices for their children, including whether those children can have relationships with their grandparents. One reason for this is to protect children from grandparents who could pose a threat to their well-being.
Grandparents as Custodians
Occasionally, grandparents can win visitation or custody. This may happen if a parent is imprisoned, incompetent for whatever reason, or deceased. Grandparents can make the argument, then, that they can serve as a positive influence in children’s lives when a parent is unable to do so.
If the parent-child relationship has been terminated by a child-protection case, the parent giving up his or her rights to the child or even death grandparents can sue for access, and the court may decide a grandparent-child relationship is in children’s best interest. However, if children have been adopted, they are considered to be part of the adopted family, and the grandparents could not sue in that case.
Grandparents may win custody if neither parent can provide it or if children have lived with grandparents for at least six months. If grandparents win, they are entitled to child support from both parents.
Children’s Best Interest
Parents may choose for their children not to see their grandparents for a variety of reasons, and this is why grandparents’ rights are not absolute. The courts hold that parents have the right to make this decision on behalf of their children.
However, if parents are not able to effectively care for their children, grandparents can intervene. The chances of having legal rights to grandchildren for those who have been denied access are slight, except in cases of abuse or negligence. The state prioritizes children’s best interest in every situation. Stallings Family Law is experienced in cases regarding grandparents’ visitation and custody and can help in these circumstances.