Divorce is a very difficult and challenging life event. Unfortunately, it is also one of those things that does not affect only those directly involved. Grandparents can often find themselves caught in the crossfire and feeling like they are not getting to see their grandchildren as much as they would like. Here are three tips if you are in one of these situations.
Keep the lines of communication open. While it can be tempting to start by threatening to file for court-ordered visitation, it's always best to start by trying to talk to the parents and come to an agreement. This is better for the children, as it causes less tension and hard feelings, and it also shows the courts that you have made reasonable attempts if the case does end up going to court.
Have reasonable expectations. While you may want to pick your grandchildren up from school once or twice a week and have them every Sunday, this isn't a likely scenario, especially after a divorce. When parents divorce, they both get less time with the children. They can become very protective of that time and resent having to share it even more with the grandparents. Even court-ordered visitation is fairly minimal for grandparents, so it's important to understand exactly what to expect.
Talk to an attorney. When it comes to family law, everyone seems to have an opinion or anecdote about what they would do in your shoes or what happened in their friend's case. However, every situation is unique, and many people don't understand how the law and courts actually work. Getting your information and advice from an experienced family law attorney is the best way to prepare.
Source: AARP, "Grandparents' Visitation Rights," accessed Feb. 19, 2016