Grandparents often play a very important role in the lives of their grandchildren. They may serve as a child care provider, source of emotional support and friend. They can provide both parents and grandchildren with guidance.
The bond that they share with their grandchildren can be valuable, especially if the relationship the child has with their parents becomes strained. Unfortunately, times of familial upheaval, including parental divorce, can impact grandparent relationships as well. Children may find themselves cut off from their grandparents when they likely need them the most.
Parents in new shared custody arrangements may suddenly become hostile toward ongoing grandparent involvement. How much influence do parents have when grandparents request visitation rights in Indiana?
The courts will act in the best interests of the children
Indiana has a law that allows grandparents to request visitation access when the parents of their grandchildren have divorced. If a grandparent must formally ask for visitation because parents do not make time for them, the case could very well end up in family court.
If a judge hears a grandparent visitation case, they will learn about the family circumstances with the intention of acting in a child’s best interests. Usually, children benefit from maintaining healthy relationships with the adults would have supported them so far in their lives. Grandparents who have a pre-existing relationship with the grandchildren and who played a positive role in their lives could have a viable claim to visitation.
Parents can contest a grandparent’s request when there is evidence of instability or abuse involving the grandparents. If the only reason a parent opposes grandparent visitation is due to a strained relationship with the other parent or bitterness about a divorce, the courts are unlikely to give much weight to the parent’s preference. Still, judges could deny grandparent visitation requests if they believe that the grandparent would not be a positive influence on the children in the family.
Ultimately, the input of parents can potentially affect grandparent visitation requests when there is evidence supporting their claim that grandparents should not spend time with the children. Learning more about how Indiana courts handle complex family law matters may help parents and grandparents alike evaluate their options in difficult situations.