Custody conversations during divorce naturally focus on the parents. Many experts agree that it is best for the children to stay connected with both of their parents. And this is true, but it can make the grandparents feel like they’re being left out of the arrangement.
The truth is that it is very important for grandparents to stay connected with their grandchildren, and they can form close bonds. Grandparents offer love, fun, comfort and structure. Many of them also interact as de facto babysitters or offer childcare when the parents are at work. How can grandparents defend their rights to continue seeing their grandchildren?
Staying civil with the other parent
One of the key things to remember is that the other co-parent is still going to be involved with the children. You may not be happy with the way that the marriage ended, and so this can be stressful. It’s best to keep things civil and cordial. Try to stay neutral whenever you can and just focus on the fact that you want to see your grandchildren. That should be your ultimate goal.
Ask to be part of the schedule
One option that grandparents have is to ask to be included in the schedule when it comes to parenting time. Technically, custody is going to be given to both parents. But these parents are also going to have to create a parenting plan and set up a schedule to exchange the children. They may be very open to including grandparents, and having this schedule gives your relationship with the grandchildren some more stability.
Talk about special occasions
Finally, grandparents need to talk with co-parents and potentially their own grandchildren about special occasions. What is their role when it comes to holidays like Christmas? How are birthday parties going to be handled? What about events like a child graduating from high school? Grandparents do want to be part of all this, but it’s good to discuss with the co-parents what the schedule looks like and what is expected.
Grandparents who are worried about losing their time with their grandchildren and losing that connection need to make sure they fully understand their legal options, as well.