DES MOINES, Iowa--()--Families fall apart for any number of reasons such as divorce, drug abuse or the death of a parent. When these things happen, even solid relationships between a grandparent and grandchild can come to an end if one of the parents decides to cut off visitation privileges.
“Parents’ rights to control access to their minor children are generally grounded in the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process protection of fundamental rights, and in many states’ constitutions’ rights of privacy”
“Parents’ rights to control access to their minor children are generally grounded in the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process protection of fundamental rights, and in many states’ constitutions’ rights of privacy,” says Ann Cosimano, General Counsel at ARAG®, a global provider of legal solutions. “Nevertheless, grandparents still have some ability to seek visitation with their grandchildren, even if those visits might be conditional and constrained.” While all 50 states have grandparent visitation laws, state courts have varied in how they applied those laws or whether or not they believe they are constitutional as written.
Because visitation is determined on a case by case basis, the courts may start by looking at the prior relationship between the grandparent and grandchild. If you’re concerned that your visitation may be in jeopardy at some point, consider the following proactive steps:
- Keep record of when and where visits happen, and anything significant that occurred.
- If the parents begin to limit time with a grandchild, attempt to keep a relationship with the grandchild by sending gifts or cards.
- If visitation is cut off entirely, and you decide to discuss the case with an attorney, the attorney will likely benefit from evidence of all meetings, the grandparents’ attempts to maintain a relationship and names of those who witnessed the relationship.
If your visitation with your grandchildren is cut off, consider consulting an attorney to discuss specific legal actions you may be able to take in your situation. A legal plan may offer educational resources and a more affordable option to cover those attorney costs. Legal plans, such as those offered by ARAG, often cost less than a roadside assistance membership and are usually offered through employers or organizations, although some options are also available to individuals. To find out more about how legal plans work, visit www.ARAGgroup.com.
ARAG (www.ARAGgroup.com), whose North American operations are based in Des Moines, IA, is a global provider of legal solutions. The company has an international premium base of almost $2 billion and it protects 15.5 million individuals and their families – worldwide. ARAG offers comprehensive legal plans that provide a smart and trusted path for resolving legal issues. This enables people to protect their families, finances and futures.