A lot of grandparents will tell parents all too gleefully that it is way more fun to be a grandparent than a parent. They get to pack children with sweets and take them on fun trips while putting less into discipline and all the drags of parenthood. But there are times when grandparents have to step up and take care of an entire childhood.
Grandparents also have rights when it comes to visiting children, just like parents during or after a separation or divorce. The parents of parents gained limited allowances for visitation rights after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Indiana follows this federal rule, making custody and visitation questions easier to answer.
This is a relatively new development, as grandparents did not have visitation rights in nearly any U.S. state or jurisdiction for most of the 20th century. However, grandparents were often tapped during this period of time to take on full custody and guardianship of children in the event that both parents were dead or unavailable due to prison or other reason for absence.
If a grandparent wants to claim visitation rights or settle a dispute about access to their grandchildren, there may be a step between discussing it with family and bringing the family to court. Collaborative law, mediation and other nonbinding forms of resolution may create a solution.
Grandparents’ rights can always be represented by a lawyer as well, whether in mediation or in court. Legal representation may make this process easier, as there is another mind paying attention to the necessary legal details of child visitation.