Grandparents rights are a fairly new concept that keep changing as we strive to balance the rights of the parents to raise a child versus what is in the best interest of the child. Grandparents usually want to file for rights if they disagree with the way the parents are raising their children, but this is not a valid reason to file. However, if you have been cut off from your grandchild, feel that maintaining a relationship with him or her is in the best interest of the child, and your circumstances fit the required guidelines, then you may be able to file for grandparents rights. Below are a couple cases in which grandparents rights can be filed.
In the case that your child, the parent to your grandchild, passes away and the surviving parent takes full custody and denies or limits your visits with the child, you might have a case to file for grandparents rights. In this instance, you would have to prove that you sustained a relationship with the grandchild prior to the parent’s death. If you were the caregiver for the grandchild or he or she lived with you in the year prior to the death, then you have a very strong case. It will be necessary to show that it is in the best interest of the grandchild to not dissolve your relationship with them.
Another case in which you can file for grandparents rights is if your child is in the process of divorcing his or her spouse. In this situation you may be able to file a motion to get temporary or permanent visitation rights during and after the divorce. You will need to be aware of and willing to accept that due to the split of the two parents, the time you get with your grandchild will decrease. To file for grandparents rights in this situation, you will have to show that you have an extensive relationship with the grandchild and have spent a significant amount of time with him or her prior to the divorce.