Every state makes its own rules when it comes to a grandparent’s rights to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives over parental objections.
In Indiana, grandparents can generally only seek visitation rights in certain situations. Those are generally limited to cases where paternal grandparents want visitation and the child was born out of wedlock (but paternity is established), the parents are divorced or the parent related to the grandparents seeking visitation has died. In addition, visitation isn’t guaranteed – a grandparent’s petition will only be approved if the court agrees that doing so serves the best interest of the children.
But, what happens if the child in question is adopted by another party? For example, maybe your son passed away and your former daughter-in-law remarried. If her new spouse adopts your grandchildren, could you lose all access to them if your former daughter-in-law wants to “move on?”
If you act quickly, you may be able to preserve your rights
Indiana law allows for a grandparent’s rights to visitation to survive their grandchild’s adoption by another party – but only when those grandparent’s rights have been previously established.
Since your rights to visitation are predicated on the best interests of the child, you want to gather up all the evidence you have that shows how your relationship with your grandchild has benefited them over the years. This can include things like:
- Records of expenses you’ve incurred on behalf of your grandchild, such as gifts that you’ve purchased, contributions toward their future education and life insurance policies
- Records of time you’ve spent with your grandchild, whether that was through in-person visitations or via electronic means (such as Skype or Messenger)
- Records that tend to support the idea that you and your grandchild have bonded, such as cards, notes, drawings and other small tokens of affection between you.
It can be hard to navigate these kinds of complex family relationships, especially given the emotions that can be involved. During these difficult times, it can help to seek unbiased legal guidance about your situation.