When a divorce happens, grandparents have double the worry. Not only are they worried about their child breaking up their marriage, but they may have concerns about whether they will be able to visit their grandchildren as much as they want to.
Unfortunately, grandparents have few rights when it comes to divorce. All of the decisions about the children are made by the parents during an amicable divorce or by the judge if the parents can’t come to an agreement. Only in rare cases of drugs or abuse are grandparents considered in custody or visitation arrangements.
If your ex-daughter or son in law is granted full custody of the children, the best you can hope for is to maintain a relationship with him/her so they will allow you to see your grandchildren. Your son or daughter can also bring them to see you when the children are visiting with them. You will not receive a visitation schedule as part of their divorce.
In the best case scenario, your ex- in law will realize that the children love and need you in their lives and will allow visits, even if your child doesn’t see his/her children. You will have to walk a careful line if you hope to have this type of relationship as you will have to keep your opinions to yourself and not criticize anyone for their mistakes or choices.
If you aren’t close to your ex-in law, you may have to start building a relationship in order to see your grandchildren. Call or text to see how everyone is doing. Send cards on holidays. Maybe you could offer to babysit the children while mom/dad runs errands or has to work. Remember to keep your thoughts to yourself (unless you have good thoughts – always share those!) and that your goal is to spend time with the grandchildren you love, not to fix a marriage or apologize for anyone’s behavior.
In the case of a particularly bitter divorce, you may have to settle with only seeing your grandchildren when they are visiting your son or daughter. There is little else you can do unless you want to try to build a relationship with their other parent. Whether this is possible or not depends a lot on how you treated that parent during the marriage. You may have to swallow your pride and apologize for anything you may have said or done to your ex in order to visit your grandchildren.
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