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Visitation rights of grandparents and filing actions for rights

Divorce can impact more than just the spouses going through the process of dissolving their union. New Mexico couples understand that if children are involved, the divorce process as well as the aftermath of it could greatly impact their children's lives and relationships with family members. Moreover, the process could unintentionally harm extended family members such as grandparents. Divorce is an emotional process, and while parents are trying to navigate their post-divorce lives, they might forget about the needs or interests of their own parents.

Although divorce could put a strain on relationships with grandparents, it is important to understand what visitation rights for grandparents exist in such situations. Grandparents' rights can sometimes be tricky to navigate, because they are not entirely straightforward and are usually at the discretion of a judge if a claim is filed. However, if grandparents have lost access to their grandchildren as a result of divorce, they may be more likely to be able to invoke grandparents' rights versus if the children's biological parents were still married.

If divorced parents and their parents are not able to settle disputes regarding visitation of the children involved, it may be possible for grandparents to take additional actions to obtain visitation rights. Mediation could help communication between the parties and could help those involved in the dispute reach a resolution. If this is not possible, grandparents could turn to the courts to obtain an order awarding them visitation rights.

When a court considers whether to award visitation rights to grandparents, they will base their decision on the best interest of the children. Judges may consider the relationship grandparents had with their grandchildren prior to divorce. Moreover, some courts will consider the age of the children involved and determine if they are old enough to have an opinion in the matter. Based on this information, courts can establish whether awarding visitation rights to grandparents is in the best interest of the children.

Filing an action to invoke grandparents' rights could be complex and sometimes difficult to navigate. Grandparents should understand their options and rights regarding the situation. Obtaining legal guidance could help grandparents better understand their options and what actions to take.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Do Grandparents Have Rights in Divorce?" Sept. 9, 2014

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