• If my parents get a divorce, will I still get to visit my grandparents?

    Date: 08.16.07 | by Judge Tom.

    Visitation is a big issue that gets decided in every divorce case. It starts with your parents. If your mother is given sole custody, your father will be granted visitation rights. Likewise, if your father is given sole custody, your mother will be granted visitation.

    This means the noncustodial parent will be able to see you on a regular basis, with set times and days. Or it may be more flexible, depending on what your parents agree on. The court will review the terms and, based on what′s in your best interests, approve or modify them.

    grandparents

    Photo by NC Brian (Flickr)

    Over the past few years, grandparents have become active in asserting their requests for visits with grandchildren whose parents divorce. Many states have passed laws allowing grandparents to seek a court order for visits if they′ve been denied visitation by the parents. 

    Some states require that a minimum period of time pass (three to six months) before the visits begin—a period where everyone can cool off after the divorce. Other courts require a hearing with an opportunity to oppose grandparent visits if a good reason exists. If visits are granted, the court will usually set forth a schedule that all are required to follow. Each case is unique; there′s no specific formula that′s followed with identical results each time.

    Stepparents may also seek visitation rights. For example, if your mother and stepfather get a divorce, does your former stepfather have any visitation rights? Can you continue to visit the stepparent who′s now legally out of the picture? State legislatures are now considering laws addressing parents who find themselves in this situation.

    Most states, at this time, don′t provide stepparents with visitation rights.    Some courts, however, will look at the whole picture, including how long the stepparent has been involved in your life, your opinion about visitation, and any other relevant factors. Courts have granted former stepparents visitation with their stepchildren. Again, the bottom line is what′s best for you.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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