On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family Law, posted in child custody on Friday, October 14, 2016.
From the moment you held the little nugget, you knew you were in love. People say the best thing about being a grandparent is all the fun with none of the responsibility, but you know that it is more than that: You know the love for your grandchildren is even deeper than with your own kids–it literally is love to the second power.
So how do you cope now that your son-in-law has moved away and has made seeing your grandchild all but impossible? Do you have any rights? Does anyone care that you held that little guy through colic and croup and countless other maladies? Will you get to rock him to sleep again–before he is too big to rock?
A grandparent’s love is priceless
The relationship between a grandparent and their grandchildren is hard to quantify. There is something about the little person needing someone a little older, a little more patient. Grandparents hold the key to family history–recalling stories and lineage that parents might not know or remember. And who better to sneak the kid a treat when mom is looking the other way?
In years past, legal right to ask the court for grandchild visitation didn’t exist. But the courts are becoming more and more aware of the child in the equation, and are working hard to meet the child’s best interests.
Courts will look at the amount of time you have spent with the child over the years–was it a monthly visit, or did you take the child to and from school? They will consider the parent’s wishes–there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation why your son-in-law has denied or limited access to your grandchild. The courts will take this into consideration and give it weight.
But those factors are by no means the only thing the court looks at. If the child is old enough to participate in the proceedings, the child may be able to express their desire to see you. If you fear your son-in-law is abusing the child, or using illicit substances, the court will be more apt to give you more credibility.
The bottom line is that if you miss your grandchild and you think it is in your grandchild’s best interest, talk to a family law attorney about getting visitation. It can be a long process, but one that is heartily worthwhile–ensuring the child another loving and caring adult in his life for years to come.