The Grandparents' Guide to Legal Resources

When you need legal advice related to your role as grandparents, these resources can point you in the right direction

By Gary Drevitch

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

AARP
The national organization for people 50 and older offers a primer on grandparent-visitation issues on its website.

DivorceNet
Search for "grandparent visitation rights" on this clearinghouse of legal information to find state-by-state status of visitation rights when parents are divorced.

Grandparents Rights Organization
An advocacy group that supports laws upholding grandparent access to grandchildren in the case of divorce, the death of a parent, or other circumstances.

The National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights
This group advocates and lobbies for "the rights of grandparents to secure their grandchildren's health, happiness, and well-being," and has chapters in 40 states.

Your Child’s Divorce: What to Expect — What You Can Do
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

Adoption.com
This site offers legal guidance for grandparents who have adopted their grandchildren.

Raising Your 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

AARP
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.

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.

Comments

My daughter is addicted to prescription medications, her husband is an enabler. We have had our grand daughter stay at our home over 50% of her life in the past 6 years and have provided 100% of basic need support for her first year of life and 75% financial support for the following 5 years. Because I left my job to stay home and try to help my daughter with her life situation devoting 60 hours per week to my daughter home and child care, unbeknownst to me I was interrupting her ability to take her opiod medications as she wanted and she filed a restraining order against me from contact with her or my grand daughter. The State of RI does not recognize that my interests are in saving my daughters life and my grand daughters safety. I do not want to be my grand daughters parent, I want my daughter to live and my grand daughter to be safe. My husband and I are now spending our 401K and mortgaging our home to pay for legal fees to try to gain visitation rights with our grand daughter and hopefully some medical attention for our daughter. Unfortunately, the law is on their side. In RI parents can keep their children from visiting with their grandparents for no reason at all and their are no spousal obligations for their spouse's health when they are slowly destroying their medical health. I do not know what else I can do. I suspect that in the end, all I have will be gone to legal fees so that the lawyers can enjoy their lives while I am homeless and hungry. My husband and I are average Americans, we work hard, attend church, help others, donate to charity, pay our taxes, keep our homes clean, respect others and believe in family.
My grand daughter must have abandonment issues. She must be wondering what happened to Nona and Papa? How can the law promote this type of hurt to a 6 year old? Due to the high number of prescription drug addictions in this country, the laws regarding grandparents need to be modified so families can take care of families.

vparen on 2013-10-01 08:38:00

Trying to obtain visitation for grandchildren that I raised due to the mother was a single mom. She has moved,and trying to not allow her children have any contact with me at all. The oldest which is now 13 & the youngest is 11.

cindi18mann@yahoo.com on 2013-05-21 09:05:18

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