Watching your child go through a divorce is a difficult experience, especially when emotions get hot. What’s even worse is the possibility that your child’s spouse will receive full custody of your grandchildren and may seek to prevent you from having contact with them.
Divorce has a tendency to bring out the worst in people, and your child’s ex-spouse may revoke your visiting privileges out of spite or anger. If possible, it is always better to try and work out an arrangement with your child’s ex-spouse rather than take the matter to court. This may mean that you have to show great amounts of patience and understanding even if you have strong negative feelings about your child’s ex-spouse.
Remember, this person is still the parent of your grandchildren, and you will need to try and get along with them for the sake of your grandchildren. It may be possible after both sides have time to cool down for you to reach out to your child’s ex-spouse and request phone calls and video calls with your grandchildren first. Ask if you can send them gifts for their birthdays and the holidays. Try to be understanding to their parent regardless of your personal feelings. If these requests are granted, you may be able to ask to visit your grandchildren or to take them out.
In a perfect world, your child’s ex-spouse would recognize how important the bond between grandchildren and grandparents is and be able to put their children’s best interests in front of their own anger. However, the world is not always a perfect place. If the parent refuses to allow you visitation rights, you may be able to seek a court order to grant you visitation.
Requesting a court order for visitation
States have different standards when it comes to granting grandparents visitation rights to their grandchildren after the parents’ divorce. Some states are more supportive of the grandparent relationship, while others put steep stipulations in place before granting visitation.
Your first step should be to research the specific laws in your state. You may find that you have to prove that you had a strong relationship with your grandchildren prior to the divorce. This may mean showing that you spent a lot of time with your grandchildren, cared for them, and even provided financial assistance for their upkeep. In other states, you will need to prove that continued contact with you is in the best interest of the children.
At this point, you’ll likely need to hire a family law attorney to help you with your petition. Though this may be a costly and emotionally draining process, the chance to be a part of your grandchildren’s lives is worth fighting for!
Nadia Shokohi MD, PhD. CDFA is a former physician who made an unconventional career change to the financial services industry more than 10 years ago after her own divorce. With her own personal experiences and special expertise Nadia’s mission is to provide women with the knowledge and tools they need to face the financial issues that come with big life transitions such as divorce, widowhood, and retirement. She also brings invaluable skills to provide doctors with the best advice and service available because she understands the unique challenges that only physicians face.