It is often said that Grandparents do not have any rights to the grandchildren. The Supreme Court did issue an opinion stating that a parent has the right to determine who may or may not be around their children. However, as is always the case with the law, there is more to the story…..
Rights Through Your Children
Both parents have a right to make the decision of whether to allow the children to spend time with their grandparents. When the parents divorce, one parent sometimes doesn’t want the children around the in-laws. That parent can usually prevent that when the children are in his/her custody. However, when the children are in the other parent’s custody, that parent gets to decide. Of course there are exceptions, but they are mostly obvious ones, such as drugs, abuse, etc. Otherwise the parent can always choose to let the children spend time with the grandparents.
Rights When You are Raising the Children
Most laws involving children are created with the “best interest of the children” in mind. When the children have been living with and raised by the grandparents for an extended period of time, it may not be in the children’s interest to let the parent(s) take the children away from that environment. Therefore, there are laws which allow a grandparent to petition the court for custody or visitation rights in certain situations. However, it is best to see an attorney right away and not wait until the parent(s) show back up to take the children.
When the Parents Abandon rhe Children
If the parent(s) have dropped off the grandchildren with you and taken off, you need to get legal help right away. You may need orders or other documents to permit you to put the children in school, get medical care, enroll in activities, etc. Also, if you have no idea when or if the parent(s) will return, you will want to take steps to provide permanency for the children. You don’t want to be caught unprepared if the parent(s) show up three years later demanding the children.