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How to go about preserving grandparents' rights

New Mexico provides some visitation rights to grandparents after divorce. Grandparents can increase their odds of receiving these rights by taking certain steps to build a loving and close relationship with their grandchildren and spending quality time with them.

To start, grandparents should call their grandchildren frequently. Helping the parents raise their children is also an important step to securing rights. This can include paying some expenses, babysitting, taking the children to appointments, and simply visiting. However, grandparents should not give unsolicited advice to a parent, especially when the other parent is nearby.

Grandparents should also offer to spend a regular amount of time each week with the grandchildren or help them with their homework, a craft or other activity. They can also be regular spectators at the grandchildren's athletic events.

Perhaps most importantly, the grandchildren should always feel that they are part of the family. Sending them pictures of their grandparents and other family members can help build this relationship. Also, invitations for family outings with their extended family can help further these connections.

In addition to building these relationships, it is also important to compile facts if grandparent rights are sought in court. Grandparents may seek visitation rights if they feel they were purposely separated or overlooked. To present the strongest evidence possible, grandparents should keep track of and document their contacts, relationships, and time spent with their grandchildren. Receipts can show any payment of any expenses, and items such as ticket stubs and programs can memorialize time spent at events such as shows or athletic events. Documenting these events on a calendar is a simple method that can also be helpful.

A grandparent seeking visitation rights should consider acquiring assistance from an experienced family law attorney who can help them gather this information and build their case in court. Often, grandparent rights are overlooked in the parents' custody disputes. However, an attorney can help fight to ensure that grandparents and their relationship with their grandchildren are not overlooked.

Source: Starts at 60, "Grandparents' rights: How to deal with your kid's divorce," Sept. 16, 2017

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