For children, divorce is a disruptive experience, affecting many areas in their young lives. When parents decide to end their marriage, it can also impact the relationships the kids have with other members of the family, such as their grandparents. In some cases, there is a loss of contact between grandparents and grandkids, and the grandparents may consider the legal options available to them.
Grandparents often play an important role in the lives of their grandkids. It could be in the best interests of the kids for the grandparents to seek visitation rights in order to preserve this critical and formative relationship. Custody and visitation are complex issues in many divorces, and it will be beneficial for any grandparent to understand his or her rights and options before moving forward.
The best interests of the kids
The ultimate goal of any child custody or visitation decision will be to protect the best interests of the children above all else. Grandparents may seek the court’s intervention in their pursuit of access to their grandkids, but the court will always prioritize what is best for the children. Factors the court may take into consideration include:
- Distance between the kids and the grandparents
- Wishes of the children, if they old enough to express them
- Ability of the grandparents to appropriately supervise and care for the kids
- Any evidence of substance abuse or neglect in the grandparents’ history
- Strength of the relationship between the grandkids and grandparents
- Physical and emotional health of the grandchildren
- Needs of the children
If there is sufficient evidence that the relationship with the grandparents is critical to the mental and emotional health of the kids, a court may grant the grandparents visitation rights. In cases where the parents are unfit to retain custody, grandparents may be able to secure custody rights.
The best future for a family
Custody and visitation are complex issues, but Mississippi grandparents may have grounds to pursue visitation rights if a divorce or parental conflict threatens to disrupt the grandparent-child relationship. A divorce may affect certain relationships the kids have with extended family members, but there are ways to preserve the critical role grandparents may have in the lives of their grandkids.