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Susan Adcox

Bad News and Good Advice for Grandparents

By June 12, 2009

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I've been researching the topic of grandparents' visitation rights. Here's the first thing I've learned. The laws are different in every state, although governed to some degree by the U.S. Supreme Court case Troxel v. Granville. Here's the second thing I've learned. If you have a grandchild in any situation other than an intact, happy, harmonious family, think ahead. The day could come when you have to prove that seeing your grandchild is in his or her best interest. If that day comes, showing that you have a pre-existing relationship with that grandchild could be important. Every time you see your grandchild, write it down on your calendar. Every time you buy a pair of pajamas, keep the receipt. Take photographs. Save ticket stubs. Send e-mails and save them. Chances are that you'll never need this documentation that you are an involved, caring grandparent with a preexisting relationship with your grandchild. Then again, if you need it, you'll have it. The bad news is that there are thousands of grandparents who can't see their grandchildren who wish that they could. The good news is that with some luck and some foresight, you don't have to be one of them.

June 12, 2009 at 9:20 am
(1) Sally Wendkos Olds says:

This is excellent advice — and easy to do. Grandparents pressing for visitation rights with their grandchildren should also get in touch with one of the advocacy organizations, like the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights (NCGCR — http://www.grandparentsforchildren.org)which can give them information about state laws relating to grandparent visitation and custody.

June 16, 2009 at 10:49 am
(2) SharonCole says:

It is so sad that this is even an issue. I know when my oldest daughter gets mad at me (which she so easily does), she “punishes” me by not letting me see her children for awhile. I adore my kids and grandkids. I wish everyone could be happy and get along. How sad is it that so many of us have to seek outside help to receive what is right—visitation!

June 16, 2009 at 3:06 pm
(3) grandparents says:

I agree, Sharon. It’s wrong for parents to use children as pawns or bargaining chips. In the interest of fairness, I’ve known of cases where grandparents seemed unable to resist stirring up conflict. We do indeed need to get along, to choose our battles and to keep our mouths shut unless it is really something that must be said. But I agree that there are lot of grandparents who have done nothing wrong who have to fight for the right to see their grandchildren, and that is wrong.

June 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm
(4) grandparents says:

My series on grandparent visitation rights in all 50 states is now complete. The NCGCR is a great organization which does a good job of staying current with the issues, but I’ve seen many, many outdated web pages and misleading statement on the web as I’ve been researching this topic.

August 10, 2009 at 3:42 am
(5) Ticked says:

This is bad news for good parents with TERRIBLE grandparents. My parents are a bad influence on my child and often lie to me about her. They’ve had their house broken into while my daughter was there and lied to me about it so I wouldn’t come and get her. =/

August 11, 2009 at 8:56 am
(6) grandparents says:

Certainly there are bad grandparents, just as there are bad parents. A person doesn’t automatically lose all of his or her character flaws upon becoming a grandparent. I’m sorry that your parents are dishonest and manipulative. Your children deserve better grandparents.

April 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm
(7) Tam says:

some grandparents like being in the public eye for doing charity work and fund raiser , but i thought that starts at home? telling my kids the truth . wonder what the town would think?

December 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm
(8) Tonya says:

Well I’m a grandmother and I am a very good grandmother if my daughter or any of my kids ask me to do something I did it .I think if you and your spouse have problems and you ask your parents for help and we as parents will help our kids, don’t punish bye keeping our grandchildren from us .Yes I

May 26, 2013 at 4:17 am
(9) a mom says:

I agree that it is sad; however, in some (but not all) of the cases, there are grandparents who are verbally/physically abusive in front of children. Or said grandparents are slanderous and use their grandchildren against the parents as pawns. I’ve experienced both cases and have also seen grandparents unfairly punished as well.

November 27, 2013 at 8:51 am
(10) Jamie says:

My son was murderd sept 20 2012 .his daughter was making 1 year old yhe next week . He also was expecting another child from another woman he never got to see his son be born .this was my only child. The daughter has been in my life since day one . Now the mother has restricted me from seeing my granddaughter because she said she don’t want her daughter around the baby boy my son never seen . I refuse to choose between my grandchildren.

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