Flying Solo
Nextsteps FlyingSolo Our Store About Us Life Management Home

Browse Resources:



Divorce & Estate Planning

Divorce & Separation

Divorce Mediation

Divorce Tax

Divorce Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

General Divorce

Military Divorce

Remarriage & Stepfamilies

State Information

Un-Married Couples

Related Resources
Grandparent Guidlines to Visitation
Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

Question: When our son and daughter-in-law decided to call it quits, she was given temporary custody of our only grandchild (age five) because of abuse allegations against our son (which he says are not true). The court granted him supervised visitation for eight hours each week. Our daughter-in-law refused to allow us to see our grandson, so we hired a lawyer and went to court. In addition to spending a lot of money that we don't really have, we have been subjected to unimaginable indignities -- mainly because our son has been accused of child abuse. We have done nothing wrong, yet we get conflicting messages from our lawyer. Exactly what are our rights?

Answer: Generally speaking, fit parents in an intact family have the right to say who visits the children and who does not. But once the family unit splits, it's a different ballgame. With the epidemic of divorces and remarriages that simultaneously interrupt and create different relationships for children, the parents of the non-custodial parent are often cut off from their grandchildren,
in spite of psychological bonding.

This has led to the legal movement recognizing that children sometimes need ongoing relationships with important people in their lives other than their parents. Grandparents led the efforts to permit themselves -- and other deserving third parties -- to seek visitation. Today, all states have laws that preserve these rights in some fashion, but the laws of each state differ.

Some state laws limit the visitation rights to those related to a deceased or non-custodial parent, while others allow any grandparent to petition for visitation as long as the parents have separated. There are even states that extend the right to apply for visitation to great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Grandparents’ rights issues have even been addressed by the United States Supreme Court.

Bottom line: To prove your case, you must convince the court that you have a good relationship with your grandson, that you have been denied contact with him, and that his best interests will be served by granting you visitation. Depending on the law of your state, the court could also consider the cumulative effect of the child having court-ordered visitation with your son and the two of you. In a situation where a parent has been accused of abuse that results in supervised visitation, evaluations by mental health clinicians and questions about your emotional background and how you raised your son are the norm, and you should have been prepared to face this issue.

Question: I think child support guidelines are a bunch of hooey. What ever happened to these miraculous governmental changes that were supposed to help me? The support I get from my ex is never enough, and never on time.

Answer: For years, the U.S. Congress has been trying to reduce the federal cost of the welfare system by shifting more of children’s economic burden to their parents. For example, in 1984, Congress passed the Child Support Enforcement Act that, among other things, required all states to enact advisory child support guidelines. Four years later, the Family Support Act dictated that states either use these guidelines as the benchmark whenever child support was set or modified, or risk losing federal funding. Generally speaking, guidelines consider the incomes of the parents in computing support by formula. The children's health needs, including health insurance if available and affordable, are also considered. Since each state's guidelines are different and are applied differently, application of the guidelines vary from state to state; however, in each state, the court is authorized to deviate from the guidelines if a good cause shown. That said, your question should be addressed to your lawyer, your local social services department, or your state representative.

Need more advice or help with this topic? Click here to get information about taking the "Next Step".
     Related Resources

  • Grandparents & Custody of Grandchildren

  • Grandparents Want Visitation

  • GrandParent Must Pay Support

  • Create your personal health plan now and make your wishes known ® using My Final Decisions

    © 1986 - 2018 Jan Warner. Please See our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
    Please feel free to contact us with any comments.

    Planning Your Future with 20-20 Vision™



    Today, more than 36 million Americans are age 65 or over. There are more than 22 million family-member caregivers. Then there are the Baby Boomers. All are grappling with the major decisions that accompany the latter stages of life. This book is for them. Written by two experts with decades of experience between them, it is a comprehensive guide that instructs readers about how to create a plan to deal with all aspects of aging, helps maximize options and ensure wishes are carried out.

    Learn More
    Order the book
    Create your personal health plan now and make your wishes known ® using My Final Decisions
    Suggested Reading:
    Separation and Divorce Guidebook
    Click for more ....

    FS-Be Wary of Credit Issues with Ex
    Click for more ....

    FS-Becareful of Bargaining Away Alimony As Child Support
    Click for more ....

    FS-Lawyer Tells Me to Lie & Pension Double Dipped
    Click for more ....

    FS-On and Off Again Reconciles Can Create Agreement Disasters
    Click for more ....

    FS-The Dangers of Family Loans
    Click for more ....

    FS-Transference of Affection & 10 Tips of Divorce
    Click for more ....