Are You A Grandparent? Know Your Rights For Visiting Your Grandchildren
One of the joys of getting old is being able to spend time with your grandchildren. Unfortunately, it's possible for that to be taken away from you, such as when your child decides to get divorced or your grandchild is given up for adoption. Visitation rights may be completely cut off, especially if your child is now living with someone that you are not related to. That's why it's so important that you know what your rights are as a grandparent when it comes to visitation.
States Will Treat Grandparent Visitation In Different Ways
Start by determining how your state evaluates your rights as a grandparent to see your grandchild. The top factor that will be considered by a family court is the child's best interest. Other factors may come into play, such as if one parent has passed away or if the child was born outside of wedlock with established paternity.
It can be difficult to fully understand how each state decides on visitation rights, so speak with a family lawyer that has experience with this type of situation.
You Can Represent Yourself In Court
If you're worried about the cost of a family lawyer, know that you can represent yourself in court. You are allowed to file a motion with your local court clerk all on your own, but you will need to make sure that all legal documents have been prepared correctly. Mistakes in paperwork can cause your case to be delayed or dismissed.
Visitation May Be Allowed In Adoptions
You may still have the right to see a grandchild if they were adopted. Your best course of action is to speak with your child about having an open adoption that specifies grandparent visitation rights. Even if the adoptive parents do not want the biological grandparents to see the child, the open adoption can grant you explicit rights when it comes to visitation. In a closed adoption, most states will void any of your rights to see your grandchild, which is why it's so important to have them written out.
The big difference is if you are considered the child's primary caregiver before the child is adopted. You can actually make a legal claim to prevent the adoption process from happening and adopt the child yourself.
In any situation, your best bet to ensure that all of your legal options for visitation are being used is to have a family lawyer on your side throughout the process.