Is withholding grandchildren from grandparents possible in the United States? What can parents do?

According to a common belief, people think when they become grandparents, they will have the right to visit, love, and see their grandchildren whenever they want. But federal and state laws in the United States are complex to understand in this domain. This ultimately translates to the fact that the law gives the power to parents in withholding grandchildren from grandparents.

In other words, no law automatically provides the right to grandparents to visit or see their grandchildren whenever they want. Eventually, parents can take control of whether their children can meet their grandparents or not.

The law supports the situation where parents are having a tough and unwelcoming relationship with their parents. In fact, if parents take legal actions against their parents in visiting their children, there is hardly any legal remedy that grandparents may acquire.

Also, depending on the jurisdiction, it is also possible for you to sue your parents for visitation rights. During the late 1970s, lawmakers were concerned about creating some possible variations in the visitation rights of grandparents across states. This is why your state may have different visitation laws than any other. In this case, it is required to understand the visitation rights of a grandparent prior to applying a legal remedy.

Visitation rights for grandparents in the United States

Typically, the visitation rights of grandparents for their grandchildren are granted by the court to every grandparent. The court can allow grandparents to visit and see grandchildren at regular intervals depending on the case and needs. In many cases, the court makes sure that grandparents would not become estranged from the family or their grandchildren. Also, if grandparents follow the court rulings, they can prolong their visitation rights.

But essentially, it will be important to comprehend the case ruling after every visitation claim. Not every time grandparents are allowed to see and visit grandchildren. If the court foresees danger or any future conflicts in a grandparent visitation case, the judge can terminate the visitation rights. It all boils down to the state statutes and the individual family situations. Besides, there is no guaranteed or absolute legal remedy for grandparents that allows them to visit and see their grandchildren.

On the other hand, in cases, where a court grants visitation rights to grandparents, even parents cannot interrupt. Just like grandparents if parents interfere in the court’s ruling and deny the court order, they may also face severe legal ramifications. They can even face big trouble if they provoke or incite children to go against grandparents just because they don’t want them to meet their children.

Parents can also face legal intricacies if they are found affecting mental health by forcing them not to meet or instructing them what to say when there is visitation time. The court will always see what is in the best interest of a child in order to release a verdict.

Withholding grandchildren from grandparents legally

As said, visitation rights for grandparents differ across jurisdictions. Each state has its own set of rules to determine who is eligible to claim these rights and file a petition for the same. In some states, it is probably allowed for grandparents of one parent to file the petition or claim visitation rights.

For instance, in Arizona, you can sue parents if they withhold your right of meeting their children if the family lives together. To claim, there should be a separation between parents in the name of divorce or if a child is born outside a marital relationship.

In addition, grandparents have a range of legal freedom in visitation statutes to sue parents for their visitation rights. Therefore, it is not easy for a parent to withhold grandparent from grandchildren just like that. State statutes have a clear understanding of the situation where a visitation right can be claimed and parents can be sued against them. Also, for granting grandparents visitation rights even if parents don’t allow it, there should be some solid grounds to meet the statutes and have a favorable verdict.

Eventually, if a grandparent plans to sue a parent, they must understand the state statutes where they live, specifically, the requirements and the legal obligations. This will be essential to know what kind of visitation rights you can go for if as a grandparent you are experiencing estrangement.

Whom do state statutes favor Grandparents or Parents?

For almost every state, the interest and psychological health of a child mean everything. Regardless of what individuals involved in the case prefer, the court will always verdict on the welfare after observing the upbringing needs of a child. This ultimately tells us that the court has the authority to grant visitation rights to a grandparent if they anticipate the need for their presence in their life.

This situation would be called a ‘permissive’. Therefore, even if a biological parent objects to grandparents’ visitations, they can still be able to see them.

On the flip side, there are states where restrictions are in place for grandparents that are usually called ‘restrictive” statutes. This means there are certain conditions where grandparents file a petition for visitation or even claim their rights.

For example, grandparents can only file a petition when there’s a death of a parent or in the event of a divorce. Otherwise, in an intact family, there are restrictions for grandparents to ask for rights. Also, there are possible challenges that grandparents may face in seeing their family.

In fact, along with the jurisdiction, it is also at a judge’s discretion to decide in granting visitation rights to grandparents or deny the rights at all. In a few states, there’s much leeway in the form of visitation rights, but as said, it will be on the judge to decide the best outcomes considering the case and situation.

Do parents have the right in legally withholding grandchildren from grandparents

Imagining a scenario where grandparents are blocked away from visiting their grandchildren is heart-wrenching. This may often happen when there are continuous conflicts of opinion and fights over certain disagreements.

However, even if parents have the right to choose the best for their children, anybody could feel sympathetic for grandparents if their rights of visitation and seeing their family are revoked.

There are situations where parents can legally and rationally justify their actions and succeed in keeping their family separate from their parents. These actions may include unwelcoming, abusive, undesirable, and offensive behaviors from grandparents. These justifications are also used as evidence when grandparents do not adhere to the guidelines that parents set for an injured or sick child. 

Additionally, there can be many other traits of grandparents that compel parents to stop their children from getting in touch with grandparents. These traits may contain substance abuse or a criminal history which ultimately risk the health or life of a child.

Ways to opt for grandparents for visiting grandchildren

Best to resolve conflicts either with grandchildren or their own children, grandparents must try to repair their relationship. With this, not everyone will have a peaceful life but also it will work to build trust among families. Eventually, grandparents will be able to see and cherish grandchildren and their success.

Oftentimes, when there are strained relationships between grandchildren and grandparents, it gets difficult to have visitation rights. At times, things get really complicated and it gets difficult to talk and resolve conflicts among parties. In these scenarios, having a mediator or a social worker to counsel parties and find a way out would be beneficial. But it would be possible if both parties want to come to a solution. Therefore, unless both parties are willing to land on a solution, it wouldn’t be a perfect way to get out of family trauma.

To Conclude

After that you know how challenging it is to claim the visitation rights and get yourself in a position to resolve conflicts as a grandparent, let’s highlight the important notes from the discussion above;

  • No law automatically shifts visitation rights to grandparents in the United States. However, not giving the rights to your parents to visit and see their grandchildren may arise legal complications for you as a parent.
  • Once a grandparent is granted visitation rights, they may be allowed to see their grandchildren regularly.
  • Every state has its own customized visitation laws. Depending on the case and jurisdiction, it is best to know your legal rights both as a parent and grandparent.
  • Prior visitation rights can be revoked if grandparents are involved in abusive or criminal behaviors that may threaten the mental health of a child.
  • In permissive states, the courts ensure the best interest of a child and grant visitation rights if they see it is affecting a child.
  • States working with restrictive laws in place have strict policies and laws for grandparents’ visitation rights. They may not allow both grandparents to visit or may allow only grandparents of a certain parent to visit their family.
  • Parents can justify proving inappropriate behavior of their parents in order to revoke their visitation rights. This way they can easily keep their children away from them especially when they live in a restrictive state.

However, if grandparents really want to keep visiting their grandchildren, it is best to improve areas that need improvement. They may include behavioral issues and criminal negligence. Suing parents for not providing proper visitation rights can also come in handy. But then again it will all come down to the variable state laws. Lastly, parents should realize that it would be best for children’s upbringing to see their grandparents regularly.

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