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Do grandparents have visitation rights in a divorce situation?

Typically, various people are affected by the end of a marriage, not only the couple involved, particularly if children are in the picture. Grandparents, especially, often have to endure an adjustment period during and following a divorce regarding access to grandchildren, and their visitation rights may even be in question. However, most Massachusetts residents would likely agree that the bond many children enjoy with their grandparents is important and certainly worthy of protection.

A family law attorney in a different state explains the radical changes that ensued from a lawsuit brought forth in the early 1990s. In that case, following their son’s death, a couple sued the mother of their grandchildren for grandparent visitation rights. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled that, with some exceptions, if a child has at least one fit and proper parent, grandparents do not have the right to court-ordered visitation with their grandchild over the parent’s (or parents’) objection.

Nevertheless, grandparents wishing to remain close to their grandchildren even when their son or daughter is no longer with the other parent can benefit from the following advice. For one, grandparents can offer help to the parent(s), perhaps taking the child(ren) shopping or to extracurricular activities. If finances permit, and with the parent(s) blessing, grandparents may also wish to plan a family vacation, including the grandchildren and their parent(s). As well, provided the parent(s) approve, grandparents can simply come out and support their grandchild(ren) at sporting activities or other extracurricular events. No matter the nature of the split, it is important that grandparents focus on collaboration with the parent(s).

Often, grandparents play a crucial role in a child’s upbringing. Particularly during and following the divorce process, the loving support they provide can help a great deal with a child’s adjustment to his or her new family situation. Many Massachusetts couples who have made the decision to divorce consult with an experienced family law attorney to help them navigate the numerous issues they will encounter during the process, including those involving their children and extended family.



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