The Basics of Grandparent's Rights: Within the past decade or two, there have been dramatic changes to what was once a very traditional relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. A large percentage of grandparents have petitioned the court in the hopes of obtaining a regular visitation schedule with the grandchildren. Quite naturally, as a by-product of these factors, the individual states have had to address the issues of non-parental custody and the visitation rights of grandparents.
The Rights of Grandparents: There are two basic rights with respect to grandparents and their grandchildren, custody and visitation. Custody would be the legal rights and obligations consistent with that of the taking on the full-time parenting and rearing of a child. This decision requires a major commitment on behalf of the grandparents and, if the parents are not willing to voluntarily surrender custody, the blessing of the court.
Grandparents and Step-Grandparents Raising Children: In all cases, there is a generally recognized need for emotional support. In some cases, the support and encouragement from other family members is enough. In others, the need for outside help arises. This type of assistance is available through educational groups. Classes and seminars which address the issues and other potential problems grandparents may face are available.
Should Grandparents File for Visitation: There are a variety of circumstances in which it may be appropriate for a grandparent to file for visitation rights. In the instance where a particular divorce has become quite bitter and a custody battle has erupted, court ordered visitation has been found to give the grandchild a sense of continuity and stability. This is especially true in the case where the grandparents are the parents of the non-custodial parent.
Grandparent Visitation Rights: Know Your Options, Choose a Plan of Action: At one time, it was not uncommon for grandparents and their adult children to actually live within close proximity of one another. This type of situation allowed for easy access between grandparents and their grandchildren. Today's contemporary society, however, is not quite so simple; many parent-children live far away from their parents, thus, many grandparents are able to spend time with their grandchildren only once or twice a year. What's worse, given the ever increasing divorce rate in the United States, many grandparents must enlist the aid of a court of law in order to obtain visitation with their grandchildren.