Being grandparents involves more than sleepovers and s'mores. For those who have custody of their grandchildren, or for whom a bitter divorce has jeopardized their visitation rights, grandparenting can become a legal minefield. Following is a roundup of resources and tips available online for those seeking advice about grandparenting in difficult circumstances. (Note: Grandparents.com does not endorse the views or legal advice provided by any of the following organizations. We provide these links for informational purposes only.)
I. Visitation Rights
The national organization for people 50 and older offers a primer on grandparent-visitation issues on its website.
Search for "grandparent visitation rights" on this clearinghouse of legal information to find state-by-state status of visitation rights when parents are divorced.
An advocacy group that supports laws upholding grandparent access to grandchildren in the case of divorce, the death of a parent, or other circumstances.
Psychologist Marsha Temlock's 2006 book features guidance for people whose children are getting divorced, including advice about child-visitation issues.
II. For Grandparents Who Are Primary Caregivers
This site offers legal guidance for grandparents who have adopted their grandchildren.
A site that offers its own guide to some of the legal resources available to grandparents with permanent custody of their grandchildren.
III. Support for Grandparents
The association's searchable database provides information and links to resources supporting grandparents and other relatives who are raising children, including support groups, child-care training, youth clubs, and more.
Family Strengthening Policy Center
This article from the center focuses on the critical issue of respite, or relief, for grandparents with the full-time obligations of child care. It also offers an overview of recent research on the success of grandparents offering primary care and the challenges they face.
The Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center serves as a "national legal resource in support of grandfamilies within and outside the child welfare system."
The ABA can help point you in the right direction for finding legal help in your state.
IV. Also Available on Grandparents.com
"Do Grandparents Have the Rights They Should?" is a guide to the ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial 2000 decision in the case of Troxel v. Granville, which has been widely interpreted as limiting grandparents' child-visitation rights.
"When You're a Parent ... Again" offers an overview of the issues, legal and otherwise, facing grandparents who are primary caretakers.
"A Grandmother's Triumph in the Courtroom" is Lynne Gilman's detailed, first-person account of her arduous legal journey to gain full custody of her granddaughter.
How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?Find out here.