The process of divorce can be a confusing time for children. In the midst of that transition, keeping some routines constant can help children feel more secure. Especially around the holidays, spending quality time with grandparents can be a great way to let children adjust to the new normal. Grandparents can offer a safe place for children to discuss their feelings about the divorce while their parents handle their own complicated emotions.
Studies show that children who grow up with multiple supportive, healthy adults as role models have greater chances of developing positive mental health. Grandparents who are actively involved with their grandchildren are especially beneficial for the child’s future success. A positive connection between grandparents and grandchildren can cause children to have:
- Greater independence
- A closer connection to cultural traditions or customs
- Fewer symptoms of depression or anxiety
- Better social skills
In turn, seeing grandchildren at least once a week supports greater mental flexibility for elders.
Grandparents’ visitation rights
These positive aspects make it difficult when a divorce separates grandparents and grandchildren. The custodial parent may choose not to let the former in-laws have as large a role in caring for the children. What can you do if a divorce or new custody arrangement disrupts your ability to see your grandchildren?
Georgia statues do support your right to see your grandchildren. However, there are some limitations to creating a formal visitation agreement. As a grandparent, you can seek visitation rights if:
- The relationship is in the child’s best interest
- The child will suffer harm in some way he or she is not allowed to visit
- You previously had an active role in the child’s life
- The custody arrangement is not already under review for a change that does not include you
As every family is different, courts in Georgia award custody rights in various situations. The highest concern for the court is always what is best for the child. If you are struggling to understand your visitation rights, speak with a lawyer experienced with family law and custody arrangements.