When Oregon parents go through a divorce, the decision has a significant impact on the youngest members of the family. Kids will experience changes and emotional difficulty during this time, including changes in their relationships with other members of the family. This includes their relationship with their grandparents. You may find that your access to your grandchildren has changed dramatically since their parents’ divorce.
The relationship a child has with his or her grandparents is special, and it’s worth preserving. Unfortunately, one or both parents may attempt to block you from seeing the kids, or a divorce-related conflict or some other unique circumstance may prevent you from seeing them. You may wonder if it’s possible to secure visitation rights by taking legal action. In some cases, a court may rule in favor of the grandparents if there is clear evidence it is in the best interests of the kids.
Factors for the court’s consideration
There are times when it is appropriate for grandparents to petition the court for visitation of their grandkids. A court will always give preference to the biological parents and their preferences, but there are certain factors a court will consider if you seek to obtain access to see your grandkids. Some of these things include:
- The wishes of the children
- The mental, emotional and physical needs of the child
- The capability of the grandparents to supervise and care for the child
- The capability of the parents to care for the child
- The length and strength of the relationship between grandparents and grandkids
- The child’s adjustment to changes in the home, at school and in other areas
- Any evidence of substance abuse by the grandparents or grandkids
- The distance between where the child lives and where the grandparents live
If certain conditions are met, it is sometimes possible for grandparents to get visitation rights. In rare cases, it may be possible for the grandparents to secure custody rights if there is evidence the parents are unfit for certain reasons.
A complex process
Navigating the legal process of seeking visitation or custody rights through the family court system is complex. If you believe it is in the best interests of your grandchildren to have regular contact with you, it may be helpful to speak about your options with an experienced attorney. With the right help, you can take the steps necessary to fight to preserve this important relationship.