Spending time with grandchildren is one of the most cherished aspects of growing older. Children also benefit from frequent contact with their grandparents. It gives them a dependable source of unconditional love, support and safety.
Unfortunately, life can interfere with extended family connections. A long-distance move could be the culprit, but often it is caused by divorce, which can complicate things.
Here are some helpful tips to guide those who want to protect or obtain grandparent visitation rights.
Learn about the law
In New Jersey, you do not automatically have legal visitation rights if your grandchild’s parents get divorced. However, you may petition the court to obtain them. New Jersey judges prioritize the children, unless there are none, in all family law decisions.
Tip: Learn about the “best interests of children” standard and focus on showing the court how your involvement supports this standard.
Keep asking for access
You may be tempted to stop reaching out for your grandkids after facing constant rejection or even hostility. Perhaps you think a short cooling-off period will ease things. Although understandable, the court may misinterpret your motivation for stopping, potentially complicating matters.
Tip: Never stop asking (respectfully and politely) to visit with your grandchildren, as it can show the court your commitment.
Stay present and positive
Maintaining a positive relationship with your grandchildren despite any legal proceedings is crucial. If you cannot see them in person, do everything possible to be a present, positive force in their lives. It will benefit them and may help persuade a judge.
Tip: Send cards or letters, plan virtual visits and call them frequently if a parent continues denying access.
Finally, consider getting legal guidance. Experienced representation can add weight to your visitation petition and may help to expedite matters.