Unfortunately, following a divorce or other legal separation, grandparents are often left out of the loop when it comes to visitation with the grandchildren. Almost all states have some form of visitation rights for grandparents, but even with those laws, many grandparents are finding seeing their grandchildren a hard feat to accomplish. If you are a grandparent and you are not able to see your grandchildren, here is what you need to know.
What Are the Current Grandparent Visitation Rights?
Grandparent visitation rights vary from state to state. Some states have restrictive rights, which allows for grandparents to petition the court for visitation rights, but only in certain situations. For instance, in the state of Alabama, whether or not a parent is deceased or if the grandparent has been denied visitation is a factor in whether or not a petition is granted.
Other states do not require a special condition or circumstance to exist in order for a grandparent to petition the court for rights. For instance, in Connecticut, a grandparent can petition for visitation if it is in the best interests of the child.
What If You Cared for Your Grandchildren?
If you were the primary caregiver for your grandchildren and have now been cut off from contacting them, where you live can play a major role in whether or not the court will order visitation. For instance, if you were a caregiver for the children and you provided financial support, you have the same rights as a non-custodial parent.
What Can You Do?
Whether or not your state has laws that support grandparent visitation rights, there are things you can do to possibly gain access to your grandchildren. One of the first options available to you is repairing your relationship with the custodial parent of the children. When speaking with the parent, avoiding criticisms of his or her lifestyle and parenting decisions.
If you are unable to visit your grandchildren after attempting to repair the relationship, you can file a petition with the court for a visitation order. Even if your state does not have visitation rights laws, there is a chance that you can still successfully gain access to your grandchildren. You will need to prove that a relationship with the children would be beneficial to them and that there is an existing relationship.
An experienced family law attorney can help you assess your visitation rights and explain your state's laws. The sooner you get an attorney involved, the sooner you can take action to see your grandchildren.