Divorce is a difficult time not just for the two people ending their marriage but for the extended family that has grown up around the couple. Their children, as well as their parents and siblings, may feel the repercussions of a divorce. One of the most obvious issues is when someone’s former spouse seeks and wins full custody of the children and then begins to deny other family members visitation with the kids.
Severing the relationship between a child and their extended family can do long-term harm, something that parents in the grips of an acrimonious divorce may not consider. Instead, they just want to cut everyone out of their life that reminds them of their ex, including the family members that have bonded with the children, such as aunts, uncles and grandparents.
As a grandparent, you probably have a devoted and loving relationship with the children of your children. You shouldn’t have to worry about that precious relationship ending just because the marriage of your child ended. Thankfully, Indiana has laws that protect the rights of grandparents to continue their relationship with their grandkids even after the parents divorce.
You can ask for visitation separate from your child’s parenting timeToo many grandparents think that they can only spend time with their grandchildren when their child has parenting time or custody. If your child doesn’t have parenting time or has informed you they don’t intend to share the little amount of time that they have with you, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever get to see your grandkids again.
It means that you will need to take action to assert your rights as a grandparent. Provided that you have an existing relationship with the grandkids, which can be pretty easy to prove with pictures or other family memorabilia, you have the right to ask for visitation. As long as the courts find that your request is in the best interest of the children, they could very well amend the parenting plan or custody order to include visitation time for you, a grandparent.
Visitation can benefit you and the grandkids
In most cases, the courts believe that preserving a network of extended family relationships will benefit the children, so they are likely to consider and approve grandparents’ request for visitation with grandchildren. Unless there are reasons why you shouldn’t be alone with the children, such as a history of abuse, protecting your relationship with the children will likely benefit them in the long run.
Sometimes, it may even be possible to speak with the custodial parent and make informal arrangements, but even in that situation, you should still ask the courts to affirm your rights in writing. Asserting your rights as a grandparent will safeguard the relationships that you hold dear.