Grandparents hold a unique place in a child’s life. They bring wisdom, life experiences and unconditional love. In many families, grandparents provide essential emotional and practical support, helping children navigate the complexities of life. They can be a consistent presence, offering comfort during turmoil like divorce.
However, when parents decide to part ways, the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren can become strained. Legal processes and custody arrangements can sometimes restrict grandparents’ time with their beloved grandchildren. This is where grandparents’ rights come into play.
Parental rights come first
Courts prioritize the rights of parents in custody and visitation matters. The courts grant grandparents’ rights only if it is in the child’s best interest.
The best interest of the child
Courts will assess whether maintaining a relationship with the grandparents is in the child’s best interest. Factors include the child’s age, the relationship between the child and the grandparents and the parent’s willingness to facilitate the relationship.
Grandparents’ rights typically come into play when one or both parents are no longer there or when there are compelling reasons to grant visitation rights, such as a history of providing care for the child.
Sometimes, mediation can help resolve conflicts between grandparents and parents, leading to agreeable visitation arrangements.
In Delaware, over 9100 grandparents live with their grandchildren, and even more have visitation rights, according to the Census Bureau. While grandparents’ rights are not absolute, they exist to ensure the child’s best interests.
Ultimately, the goal is to create an environment where the child can continue to benefit from the love and support of their grandparents, even in the face of changing family circumstances.