Grandparents... What are their rights?

silverswordOctober 9, 2008

What do you think about grandparents rights over their grandchildren? Visitation, calls, etc? Do they have rights? Do the children have rights regarding their grandparents?

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Grandparents have no rights but for what their children allow.
If someone chooses to sever contact with their kids grandparents, they can.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 3:44PM
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Why do you ask?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 4:46PM
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Mom2emall, I was writing on the NPD post and it came up- I didn't want to hijack that thread so I said there that I would post it here, but didn't have much time to elaborate. Basically I'm having issues with my NPD mother and she is initiating contact with my daughter. I don't really want to deal with it but feel guilty about not having my DD age 6 communicate more.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 5:19PM
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I think it's important for your children to have contact with their grandparents. I'm 46 and have one grandmother left (94). I wish I could have spent more time with my other grandmother. They were so different!

The only exception would be if the grandmother was "bashing" the mother or father to the child. I wouldn't allow that!

I found this info:

So, what do granddaughters get out of this relationship? They feel they gain emotional security, closeness, and beliefs and values that only grandparents can pass from their own upbringing. Grandmothers teach skills, such as, cooking, knitting, sewing, and housekeeping. This happens to be the case in my family, too. Had it not been for the grandmother, my daughter wouldn't have learned knitting. My wife never got interested in knitting, but my daughter did, and thanks to grandmother, this skill lives on in my family. (My niece is learning all she can from my Mom, her grandmother, in regards to canning, sewing, and knitting slippers.)

In summary, influence of a grandmother is largely positive. She imparts the traditional role and values to grandchildren, somewhat different and unique from what parents can provide . Culture of tomorrow is shaped by what the previous generations pass on to the current generation. So grandparents! You have something very valuable to give your grandchildren about the traditional values and mores. Remember your grandchildren have greater knowledge of their peer culture than you do, so don't challenge them in that department. Further, to have good relationship with grandchildren, you have to have good relationship with their parents. Grandchildren! Be playful and childlike in front of your grandparents, even if you are an adult. You can act as an adult around everyone else.


In Canada, the issue of grandparents rights of access to grandchildren has not been given recognition in legislation, with the exception of the provinces of Quebec, Alberta and B.C. In all other provinces, grandparents may only petition the courts for rights of access as interested third parties. In the absence of a specific statue providing grandparents with legal standing to access, there are continuing difficulties in obtaining contact with grandchildren

Only Quebec, Alberta and B.C. have access legislation that presumes contact with grandparents is in the childÂs best interest. This places the responsibility with parents to show serious cause why access would not be in the childÂs best interest. Other provinces place responsibility onto the grandparents to prove that denied access will actually harm a child

The rights of grandparents

A grandparentÂs right to visit with grandchildren and take them on outings is recognized by law and is not affected by the separation of the childrenÂs parents. Parents cannot interfere in the personal relationship between their children and the childrenÂs grandparents, unless they have serious grounds for doing so.

If parents and grandparents fail to agree on visiting and outing rights, the grandparents may apply to the court for a decision.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 7:52AM
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Grandparents don't have any legal rights to your children.

I wish my daughter had loving grandparents to go see, unfortunately she doesn't. They exist, but don't want anything to do with her. My ex's parents won't call or see my daughter because she lives with me. My daughter wants so much to go see her and have fun with her and her grandfather like they used to but they won't have anything to do with it. Which is in my daughter's best interest because they would just bash me to her and that would not be good for her.

However, my ex's parents do see my son and wait on him hand and foot and will do anything for him. My son chose to go live with my ex and alienate me from his life (another story); so my ex's parents thinks the sun rises and sets in my son and ignores my daughter just because they hate me for leaving their son. It is very painful to see them act this way and hurt my daughter like they are. And my son as well by bashing me. I am sure they would do the same with my daughter, so she is better off. It is just unfortunate.

My son is a great young man who has been brainwashed and I miss him terribly. But if I had my way I would not allow his grandparents around him, because of all the bashing they do of me. I hope some day my son will realize what that family is doing to him and one day come home to me and his sister.

They (my ex-inlaws) are missing out on one beautiful granddaughter who is smart and intelligent and very loving. It is there loss, but doesn't help the child. But in this case, they are the kind of grandparents I don't want her around.

So if you are lucky enough to have loving grandparents for your children, whether you like them or not and they want to see your children, I would allow it only if there is no bashing. Your children will benefit a great deal from an extended family.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 2:30PM
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If the law gave my former mother in law visitation rights I would have gone underground with them. It's bad enough to have a parent that is manipulative and abusive without defending your kids from grandparents. My former MIL picked up a butcher knife at one holiday gathering and tried to cut her throat in front of the grand kids because she didn't get her way about everything.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 3:36PM
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Jan, It's the grandparents loss they don't see your daughter. That's so sad. I don't know why people hurt (emotionally) innocent children just because the adults have issues. I have a sil like that also. He kept the grandkids away 3 yrs and would now if my dd would let him. The oldest grandchild remembers being estranged from us and doesn't think too much of his father. Isn't that sad? We don't badmouth sil to our grandkids, we try to stir away from the topic. But goes to show, it has effected grandson's opinion of his father.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 4:09PM
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My kids are fortunate to have involved, interested, reliable grandparents. I apprieciate their involvement in the kids' lives.

However, that is my situation and not how it is for everyone. In a perfect world grandparents, parents and children would work out their relationships for mutual benefit. That's not reality. The bottom line is is that is really up to the parents to determine where the boundaries are.

Since grandparents do not have a legal responsibility to the children, they also do not have a legal right.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 5:04PM
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Actually, in some states, grandparents DO have legal rights to visitation. Some are more liberal than others. But it varies from state to state. There's no blanket answer to your question--you'll have to research your own state, to find out what the laws and practices are where you live.

If this is an issue in your own life--call a reputable family law attorney, and get the right info. Most decent attorney's will give you a free first visit, and after hearing your situation, will advise you about what you can and cannot do, what you can do on your own, and what you may need legal representation for. Not exactly related, but when Dsis was going to court to get legal guardianship over 2 children she'd raised for many years, the attorney she talked to told her she didn't need a lawyer for what she was doing, and the attorney told her exactly what to do--and Dsis and BIL were successful in having the kid's deadbeat dad's rights terminated. That free advice was worth way more than it cost!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 8:58AM
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In some states grandparents can be 'granted' some rights if they prove it is in the best interests of the child. But they must be fought for and granted by the court. They are not automatic and they are very hard to get in most states.

The case Troxille vs. Grandville in WA state was the landmark case that eventually caused most states to set a very high bar for people who want third-party visitation aka 'grandparents rights'. Do a search on that case or those terms to get information on each states laws.

It is more likely grandparents rights will be awarded if the grandchilds parent has died and the surviving parent is no longer allowing any contact with the grandparents from the deceaseds side of the family AND if the child had a close relationship with the grandparents and regular visits before the parent died. If their was no relationship before it would be hard to prove that the child would miss out by not having a relationship with a grandparent they never knew.

If both parents to the grandchild are living and agree to not see the grandparent than it is next to impossible to get visitation awarded by a court for the estranged grandparents.

The only state I know of that is easier to get grandparents rights awarded in is New York. But even then it must be proven in court and awarded legally. There are no third-party (non parental) rights that extended family or care givers have automatically.

If the grandparents get some visits already and are just not happy with the amount seeking 'grandparents rights' through the court will very likely result in a broken relationship with the grandchilds parents and no award from the court.

It seems the courts will also frown on giving visitation to anyone who would bad mouth the grandchilds parents in front of the grandchild or fail to be supportive of the child having a relationship with their parents. They take 'best interests of the child' to included whether or not the grandparents have a positive attitude about the childs parents in front of the child. If they cannot refrain from bad mouthing the parents they will not be awarded visitation with the child even if it were likely otherwise.

Counseling is probably a better step than court if you feel you are not getting time your entitled to with grandchildren. Legally grandparents aren't automatically entitled to anything.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2008 at 2:56PM
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Flowerfeeder: Sorry if my post was confusing. I mean what are my mother's rights to my daughter, not what are my rights as a grandparent.

I still haven't called her back, but I did email her that my daughter could go out to see her for Christmas. I called her bio-dad and spoke with my DH and we decided my daughter would have a better time with all of her cousins, aunts, grandmother and great-grandmother than she would with me and DH at home. But I don't know if this is the right decision. I don't know what to do. Especially since she will have to fly unaccompanied (one state over, no stops) or my mother will drive to pick her up 8+ hours. Since I think flying is less dangerous than driving, I'd opt for the flying. But I'm trying to get my ex- SIL to fly her over and back since she will be going out there to see family at around the same time anyway.

Those who remember from my other posts will recall that my mother has reverted to calling me by a childhood name she made up, not a cutsey name, but an actual name that has confused people my whole life. When I realized that was not my name, around 3rd grade, I started asking people to call me by my real name. Most have complied, including my father, but my mother now is calling me by that name again. So I signed my name "Silver" and she wrote back to "Jane".

I don't know if this is an intentional slap in the face, or what she is trying to do. It's really frustrating! Especially since I have told her time and again for the past 20+ years to please call me by the name SHE GAVE ME at birth.

I don't want to deprive my daughter of a relationship, but my mother is volitile and can be overwhelming. I'm worried, but I can't put my finger on what is worrying me.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 1:27PM
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