Divorce can have a profound impact on a family’s dynamic. While much of the focus is understandably centered around child custody arrangements and the time that parents will spend with children, there remains a group that is often overlooked. Grandparents tend to lose out on invaluable time with their grandchildren following a divorce. Family law in Michigan does not automatically recognize grandparents as having rights to visitation, but access to alienated grandchildren can still be achieved.
Although most grandparents would like to see more of their grandchildren, simply wanting more time with them is not sufficient to earn visitation rights. Usually, the springboard for seeking visitation comes after a grandparent has formed a meaningful bond with a child, but has since been cut off through divorce, the death of a child’s parent or other jarring life experience. During these types of tumultuous experiences, it can be incredibly soothing for a minor to maintain an ongoing relationship with the child’s grandparent.
Seeking a court order for visitation is not without potential roadblocks. It is usually presumed that a parent who opposes visitation knows what is best for the child and can successfully block any future access. Unfortunately, parents who recently divorced or suffered the loss of a spouse do not always make the wisest decisions regarding their children. In many situations children would benefit greatly from maintaining meaningful relationships with grandparents.
Seeking grandparent visitation rights will not be an issue for some grandparents in Michigan. Unfortunately, others might be met with resistance from the parents of their grandchildren. In instances such as this, demonstrating the emotional and physical benefits of maintaining a grandparent-grandchild relationship is essential. For those struggling with gaining access to their grandchildren, more information on this area of family law can be found on our website.