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A grandparent's role in a divorce

As the divorce rate in New Mexico and across the United States remains high, grandparents may find the peace of their retirement years impacted by a rift in their child's family should he or she undergo a divorce. There are a number of ways that grandparents can make this transition as bearable as possible, according to a recent piece on the subject.

The author advises grandparents whose divorcing children are temporarily staying with them to continually bear in mind that the divorce is their child's. It is not appropriate or desirable to recall memories of separations that the grandparents have been through either recently or many years ago. A group of friends can provide valuable support to grandparents in such a situation so that they may give their child the space he or she needs to process the divorce.

It is best to stay neutral in the split between the person and his or her ex, particularly when the marriage produced children. The ex-spouse will always be the parent of the grandchild and part of the grandchild's life. Staying friends with the ex-spouse may work in the best interest of the grandparent's relationship with the grandchild. Be a good listener, the author further advises, and offer advice only if it is asked for. Last, staying positive sends a strong signal to the grandchild on how to deal with adversity in his or her life.

Just because their children are divorcing does not mean that the grandparents have to give up their rights to being part of their grandchildren's lives. A family law attorney could be able to set up a visitation agreement for grandparents as part of the divorce paperwork that will allow the grandparents and the grandchild to continue enjoying each other's companionship and developing their relationship.

Source: Huffington Post, "Whose Divorce Is It, Anyway?", Claire N. Barnes, MA, September 19, 2013

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