If your grandchildren's parents face difficulty in their relationship, it may seriously affect your ability to visit with the grandchildren and act as a positive influence in their lives. Often, it is wise to consider the legal options you have available to protect your custody rights as a grandparent. While grandparents' rights are not often a priority in family court, by taking steps to protect your rights now, you may have more options to protect the ones you love in the future.
Grandparents' custody rights often face complications when a couple splits up or chooses to divorce. If your child faces the prospect of losing all or most custody and visitation rights to his or her child, then you may lose many of those rights as well. Often, when one parent tries to limit the other parent's access to their children, the grandparents also lose access.
A court may recognize your custody or visitation rights if you take time to make your wishes known through the appropriate legal channels. In many cases, this takes the form of agreed-upon visitation rights, but may even include some form of custody if it is in the best interests of the child.
Most custody and visitation decisions hang on what the court believes is best for a child, and may even include the child's personal wishes, depending on the child's age and ability to make judgments about these issues. If you believe that you can offer stability and security that your grandchild's parents cannot offer, a court may agree to place the child with you, temporarily or for an extended time frame.
It is difficult to know what options you have until you properly research the laws that apply to you. An experienced attorney can help you assess your circumstances and the challenges you face while guiding you as you build your case and work to protect your rights and the rights of those you love.