Did you know that all first marriages have a 41% chance of ending in divorce, all second marriages have a 60% chance of ending in divorce, and all third marriages have a 73% chance of ending in divorce? Divorces are not all that uncommon nowadays, and contrary to belief, a divorce affects both the immediate and extended family. Since many grandparents have wonderful relationships with their grandchildren, divorce can be extremely difficult for them. If your son or daughter is going through a divorce, you may be wondering what visitation rights you have concerning your grandkids.
The Blessings of the Connecticut-Specific Law
The role and rights of grandparents have long been debated upon. The court has established that any person has the right to petition for visitation rights provided that it is in the best interest of the child (see Troxel vs. Granville for more details). Still, the parents' legal rights can trump the grandparents' legal rights. However, if you reside in Connecticut, you can thank the state for making a specific law regarding whether grandparents have a legal right or not.
Outlined in Chapter 815(j), Section 46b-59 of the Connecticut General Statute, grandparents are entitled to legal visitation rights with their grandchildren if their grandchildren are still minors. Grandparents are able to maintain a parent-like relationship; however, it is up to the grandparents to be vocal about wanting visitation rights, and grandparents must prove that a relationship history exists between them and the child.
Factors That Affect the Granting of Legal Visitation Rights
If you want to make sure that you legally have visitation rights, you will need to prove to the court that you have a good relationship with your grandchildren. Factors that the court will consider include:
- the amount of time and effort that the grandparents have put into seeing and maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren.
- the type of activities that the grandchildren and grandparents partake in.
- the type of relationship that the grandparents have with the custodial parents.
- the fitness levels of the grandparents who are requesting visitation rights.
- whether there is a significant absence of a parent from the minor's life.
To provide further details in regards to these factors, grandparents are encouraged to:
- visit their grandchildren as frequently as possible.
- make detailed records regarding when each visit occurs, the length of time that is spent with the children, and the type of activities that both have partaken in.
- be vocal about their desire to obtain visitation rights.
Keep in mind that emotions run high during a divorce, and you may have to keep an open mind about compromising regarding the terms and conditions of your visitation rights.
Grandparents play an important role in the life of their grandchildren. Just because the parents are getting a divorce does not mean that grandparents should forfeit their visitation rights. If you think your rights are being tread upon, it's best to seek out legal counsel, like LaCroix & Hand PC. Make sure that you make your desires and emotions known during the divorce and fight for your right to spend time with your grandkids. If you live in Connecticut, you may have more rights than other grandparents in other states.