Family Law and Grandparents – Keeping Contact with Your Grandchildren After a Divorce
Divorce is one of the most traumatic events in a family and it affects everyone – the couple, the children, even the family friends, and the grandparents…..Yes, everyone forgets about the grandparents – they are irreplaceable for a child’s healthy growth but are too often ignored when it comes to visitation rights after a divorce.
Seeing too many grandparents lose the right to see their grandchildren after a divorce means that there is something wrong. How can grandparents and parents make sure the children stay in contact with them even after the divorce? What are the rules and regulations?
Here are a few issues to consider:
The law supports whatever is in the child’s best interest. If there is a proven relationship between the grandparents and the grandchildren prior to the divorce, the chances that contact rights will be granted by the court are higher.
Family courts recognize the important role that grandparents can play in their grandchildren’s lives and it is very rare for courts to refuse contact between them.
In case that there is a parental responsibility, grandparents can apply for a Contact Order to courts. Family courts will then consider if
– the application can cause any harm to the child;
– the application has reasonable grounds (relationship prior to divorce)
– the relationship’s nature is beneficial to the child.
In the case that there are no objections from the parents, obtaining a Contact Order is easy. However, if one of the parents has objections, a grandparent might need to undergo a full hearing. At this stage, many seniors choose to consult a lawyer because of the complexity of a hearing.
A lawyer can also help grandparents provide evidence that proves the relationship will not be harmful to the family and will benefit the child.
Usually, a court will issue the grandparents a Contact Order. A Contact Order gives the grandparent the rights to visit with the child, for the child to stay over at the grandparent’s home and so on. A Contact Order gives face-to-face visitation rights as well as indirect contact rights – through letters, emails, video and phone calls.
A Contact Order can be enforced but if all the legal preparations and negotiations have been done properly in advance there is very seldom a need for that.
Many things change in the life of the whole family after a divorce. The living situation of the child may change significantly and sometimes direct visitation rights are impossible to obtain. However, many lawyers offer the Indirect Contact Order as an option for their clients to stay in touch with their grandchildren.
There are many ways for grandparents and grandchildren to maintain their relationship even after a messy divorce. The most important issue here is to keep the child’s best interest in mind and avoid taking legal steps in very emotional moments.
Grandparents can provide a place where children feel comfortable and calm in the entire divorce swirl. Their role in the children’s life is important and there is no legal limitation to the relationship grandchildren and grandparents can have.
A divorce is messy enough without taking further legal actions to allow for grandparents to stay connected with their grandchildren. However, many individuals choose to consult a lawyer to make sure they are not breaking any rules. And that’s perfectly fine – talking to a lawyer doesn’t mean you are going to court, but that you are taking the right steps.
For any questions regarding your right to keep contact with your grandchildren, we are happy to help. Contact us here.