The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is one of the most adorable ones. However, it’s somewhat complicated as well. Why so? Grandparents don’t seem to have a lot of control over their grandkids, certainly not as much as their parents. When parents make decisions that seem to be going the wrong way, grandparents who try to intervene and point out mistakes are often turned away. The major question that arises here is that do grandparents have legal rights over their grandchildren? If you are a grandparent, this particular question might have been hovering inside your mind. If you are looking for an answer, then continue reading as the points below might help you.
Parents Have Stronger Rights
In the majority of the cases, parents have the strongest rights when it comes to decision-making. If there is a case of negligence or abuse, the children may be shifted from their homes. If situations improve and the concerns over the child’s future and homelife are sorted, the child might be returned to their homes under the care of their parents. The main objective is the reunification of a child and their parents. If the situation is otherwise, parents have control over their kids, despite making a decision that might not prove beneficial for them.
If a child is not under any threat or there is no possibility of them getting harmed, the decisions of the parents are considered full and final. If parents are accused of substance abuse at home, a child might be taken out of there. However, many a time, kids have to suffer because of their parents’ substance abuse disorder when they are kept back at home due to lack of evidence.
Children are also kept under the supervision of their parents if their addiction is small enough to not cause harm to them. You, as a grandparent, might feel that you can provide a better environment for your grandkids and can make better decisions. But from the legal point of view, that hardly matters. Unless child protective services are compelled to bring a child out of their homes, you actually can do nothing.
When Your Grandchildren Need a New Shelter
If your grandchildren are under the threat of being harmed or injured and thereby, are waiting to move out from their homes, you have the right to be informed. The Federal Fostering Connections Act of 2008 states that the child’s adult relatives need to be notified in such cases. According to the same act, they are given the right to take part in the decision-making process and come up with a plan for their new logistics.
If a grandparent is ready to take the child under their custody and take care of them, they will be considered almost equivalent to foster parents. However, grandparents might not receive any special consideration. The petition for custody they file will be treated equally to a third party’s petition. In case they get custody of their grandchildren, the arrangement can be done in various forms. They might be given full custody and attain the status of foster parents, or get physical custody along with power of attorney.
What are Your Visitation Rights?
Custody and visitation are entirely different. The issue of grandparent visitation has been addressed by almost every state in the U.S. The state laws contain all the details on this. In Canada, the visitation rights of the grandparents have been legally approved in one territory and six provinces.
In the other areas of the country, grandparents are considered as interested parties who have the authority to sue if they are denied visitation rights. Different organizations across the globe such as Alienated Grandparents Anonymous Canada, Grandparents Rights Advocates National Delegation of the United States, Bristol Grandparents Support Group of the United Kingdom, and others have come forward in support of grandparents and to promote their rights.
Maintain a Good Relationship with your Adult Children
The state of legal rights of grandparents is not that favorable at all. It would be in your best interest to maintain a healthy relationship with your adult children. It is wise to do so since you wouldn’t have to miss your grandkids and go through all the hassles. However, that might not be possible every time. So, whenever it’s possible for you, try to bridge the gap between you and your own children. Mending fences is always beneficial for everyone.
The relationship between parent, child, and grandchild can often get complicated and strained. If you have lots of love for your grandchildren, keep trying to stay close to them as much as you can. Don’t ever lose hope.