If your grandchild’s parents are divorcing, you may wonder whether you will still get to see your grandchild. Parenting time, a concept that once seemed infinite, becomes a measured commodity. Will either parent want to share this limited time with you?
A good thing to do in this situation is to maintain a good relationship with both parents. Divorce is a stressful time for parents and children. Use this opportunity to serve as a peaceful, safe harbor for everyone involved as they navigate this difficult period.
Parents are in charge
Working with your grandchild’s parents to reach a mutually agreeable visitation arrangement is a positive solution for all parties. Parents have fundamental rights to make decisions about the custody and care of their children. New Jersey law presumes that fit parents always act in the best interest of their children, and judges avoid overriding parents’ wishes except in extreme circumstances.
Courts rarely order visitation
New Jersey courts award grandparents visitation rights over parents’ objections only in situations where the grandchild would otherwise suffer harm. The alleged “harm” must be something specific: A vague concern such as “missing out on happy memories” is not enough. Besides specific harm, a grandparent who seeks court-ordered visitation must also prove that the visitation is in the grandchild’s best interest.
Absent a true threat of harm, staying calm, nonjudgmental and available to your grandchild and his or her parents is a good way to maintain a close relat0ionship with your grandchild even after the divorce.