Is Withholding Grandchildren from Grandparents Possible for Parents?

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By Divorce & Finance

Sad grandparent cause they cant see grandchildrenWithholding grandchildren from grandparents is something that might be possible; but you also have to be aware of visitation rights.

This guide is going to tell you everything you need to know about when grandparents can’t see grandchildren and when visitation rights are going to come in.

What Right Do Grandparents Have To See Their Grandchildren?

A lot of people assume that, if they are a grandparent, they have an automatic right to see their grandchildren when they are born. However, while this might be something that is morally understood to be true, the law is a bit more complicated than this. In other words, a grandparent does not have an automatic and absolute right that entitles them access to see their grandchildren at any point.

This means that parents do have some power and control to allow their grandchildren to see their grandparents or not. While this can be beneficial to parents that are in a tough situation with their parents, it does mean that grandparents are not left with a lot of remedies if they are out of their grandchildren’s lives.

However, depending on what state you live in, it may be possible to sue for visitation rights. During the 1970s, state legislatures concentrated on creating some variation of visitation rights for grandparents. So, while the law can vary in what type of access you will be granted, all 50 states have some type of remedy available in certain situations.

What Are Visitation Rights for Grandparents?

Essentially, visitation rights are exactly what they sound like:

They are rights a judge can grant to allow grandparents to visit and see their grandchildren on a regular basis. The frequency and type of visitation will depend on the case. Ultimately, having visitation rights ensures that grandparents cannot become estranged from the family and will be able to see their grandchildren if they follow the court judgement.

It is important to understand that grandparents will not always be given visitation rights to their grandchildren. This is going to depend on the state and situation of the family. The court judge is given the task of deciding whether the grandparents should be able to see their family. Therefore, it is not an absolute and guaranteed right for everyone.

Grandparents are allowed to see a grandchildIf visitation rights are given to grandparents, this is not something that the parents can interrupt. They must also follow the ruling set out by the judge or they may end up in trouble for it. They cannot be using grandchildren against grandparents out of spite and simply not allowing them to see them because they do not want to.

You have to think about what is going to be best for the child and allow them to have a relationship with their family.

How To Legally Keep Grandparents Away From Grandchild

Each state has its own rules when it comes to visitation rights for grandparents. Namely, each state decides who is able to file for this type of petition. In other words, perhaps only grandparents of a certain parent will be able to sue for visitation rights.

An example is that in Arizona, you cannot sue for visitation rights if a family is intact. There has to be a divorce or the child is born out of wedlock.

Visitation statutes also have the freedom to set out under what circumstances a grandparent is able to sue for visitation. Therefore, it may not always be the case that they are simply not able to see their family. The state might outline certain scenarios when it will be appropriate to file a petition for visitation. There can also be certain legal grounds that must exist for the granting of visitation rights.

The key takeaway here is that it is important to check out what the rules and regulations are in the state you live in. This is going to determine what type of visitation rights you can sue for if you are a grandparent that is suffering from estrangement.

Do States Favor Parents or Grandparents?

For some states, they are concerned with the best interest of the child and what is going to be best for their welfare and upbringing. This could mean that they favor visitation from grandparents if they feel like this is going to help them with their life. This is referred to as a “permissive” state. Thus, even if a parent objects, it is possible for a grandparent to still be able to see their family.

But, there are some states that are referred to as having “restrictive” statutes on visitation. This means that there are certain conditions or restrictions on when a grandparent can petition for visitation. For example, this could be when the parents are divorcing or if one of the parents has died. The intact family has a lot to do with the decision and this can affect grandparents seeing their family.

It is also essential to remember that a judge can be very important in a case. Each situation will be different and it will be for the judge to decide what the right step is going to be. In some states, there is a lot of leeway and the judge will consider the best outcome in that situation.

Are Parents Ever Right To Stop Grandparents Seeing Their Grandchildren?

When we think about the scenario of grandparents being unable to see their grandkids, it can be heart-breaking. Often, this is the result of a family disagreement and grandparents and parents fighting over something that has happened. In this case, you can feel sorry and sympathetic toward the grandparents for not being able to see their family.

However, there can be situations where parents can morally justify their actions and keep their grandchildren apart from their family. This can include when grandparents have demonstrated undesirable behavior. This could be that they are not safely looking after their grandchildren or following the rules their parents outline to them for their welfare.

In addition, there can be other more severe behavior that can stop grandparents from visiting their family. This can include substance abuse or even being charged with certain crimes that could pose a threat to their grandchildren.

How Can Grandparents Help To Resolve the Situation and See Grandchildren?

One of the best things that grandparents can do is try to repair the relationship between them and their own children. Not only is this going to lead to closure and peace of mind, but it is also going to be the best way to see your grandchildren. Often, having a strained relationship is why you are not being granted access and able to spend time with them.

Mediation session with parent coupleIt is possible to get a social worker or mediator to help with repairing the relationship and finding a resolution. But, it takes both parties to agree to this type of remedy. So, unless both grandparents and parents want to come to a solution, this may not be the best way.

How Can Grandparents Ensure They Do Not Become Estranged From Family?

Family relationships can be complicated and grandparents need to remember this if they want to stay in contact with their grandchildren. There are several ways you can adjust your behavior to ensure that you do not become estranged and problems do not arise.

For instance, grandparents should avoid undermining parental authority or encouraging children to do the opposite of what their parents say. You should also avoid speaking ill of anyone and not following clear rules that the parents have given you. Even gift giving should be something you are cautious about and you should ask parental permission before purchasing something.

Again, speaking to your family is the best way to avoid bad situations. Try to resolve issues when they arise and do not let them get worse. Talking and creating boundaries can be a good thing and it can stop estrangement from being the final solution.


Angry grandparents not allowed to see grandchildrenNow that you know everything about grandparents’ rights when it comes to seeing their grandkids, let’s sum up the highlight of what the law says:

  • Grandparents do not have an automatic and absolute right to see their grandchildren. However, not letting grandparents see grandchildren might allow them to sue for visitation rights in certain situations.
  • Visitation rights allow the possibility of grandparents seeing their grandchildren on a regular basis.
  • Visitation rights may not be given where there is inappropriate grandparent behavior.
  • Each state has its own rules when it comes to visitation and it is best to research this in advance.
  • Some permissive states put the best interests of the child first and ensure visitation if this is right for the child.
  • Restrictive states mean that it is not as easy for grandparents to see their grandchildren and there are restrictions for a visitation petition.
  • If grandparents have convictions or behavior in a bad manner, parents can be justified for keeping them away from children.

If grandparents not allowed to see grandchildren, there are things that they can do to see them. This can include improving their behavior and relationship with the parents, as well as suing for visitation rights in certain states. Parents should be aware that seeing grandparents can be good for children.

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