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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Contributing grandparents try to seek visitation

Divorce can take its toll on all family members. Especially grandparents who miss regular visits with their grandchildren. If their children do not share custody or equal parenting time with their ex-spouse, taking precious time for visits to grandma's are even less likely.

But what if grandparents are helping foot the bill for their grandchildren? Often, divorced parents can no longer afford a new winter coat, or summer camp, or college savings funds, or even rent anymore. So, Grandpa and Grandpa are helping pick up the slack, but there's no legal guarantee that monetary contributions will ensure visitation with their grandchildren.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed with state laws that ordered family courts to provide visitation rights to grandparents. A current unresolved case involves a grandmother whose divorced son and his daughter lived with her several months, and then moved out of state. The son no longer allows his mother to see his daughter, and grandma has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting him in court.

The current economy has forced many divorcing couples throughout the Houston area back home, creating multi-generational families. The best grandparents can do sometimes is to be nice, write the check, keep a running tab and keep your mouth shut. Perhaps during the divorce procedures, they can request that the soon-to-be-ex-spouse reimburse them. Perhaps they can befriend and take in their soon-to-be-ex-in-law and their grandchild to ensure their relationship continues to grow.

If Grandma and Grandpa don't have room for borders, another option is to offer to pay for day care, or set up education trusts. To ensure you get time with your grandchildren, try offering a vacation to your child and/or their new partner. Pay for everything and enjoy quality time with your grandchildren.

Source:, "Grandparents, purse strings and divorce," Temma Ehrenfeld, "July 23, 2012

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