One issue many people do not think about when considering divorce is how it is going to affect others outside the marriage itself. In many cases, grandparents and grandchildren have very close relationships, and when time spent with the parents is reduced, often the time spent with the grandparents can be reduced to almost nothing–or literally nothing for that matter. This becomes exceptionally difficult when distances are involved, such as when a spouse decides to file for divorce in California, but has parents in Texas, yet the spouse is moving out of state after the divorce.
Some states have provisions in their divorce laws to give child custody to the grandparents in some situations, but this is usually only in the event that both biological parents are too unfit to be parents, and the children would otherwise become wards of the state. As one would expect, though, these situations have to be pretty bad before a judge will sign over custody.
So what do grandparents do when their children get divorce?
One easy way of getting time with the grandkids following divorce is to offer to babysit, if geography allows. Often times, despite the cut in time allowed with their children, many divorcés need some time to figure out what they want for themselves and their children following the divorce. For instance, for a mother who is awarded the house during the property distribution as well as primary child custody, the issue of whether to remain in the house or not can be an issue. It may be too difficult to stay in the same house, but at the same time, a lot of times the stability it offers can be worth the painful emotions.
If the children are older, you may just want to ask them if they would like to spend some time together. There are a lot of skills and wisdom that you can bestow, and especially if you can make the delivery entertaining, most teens are more than happy to listen to their wacky grand-folks. All kidding aside, though: most underestimate the desire for kids and teens to spend time with their elders.
If you are on good terms with your ex-child-in-law (does that actually exist?), you might want to just approach them directly to see if they would be willing to cut you in on some time if your actual child happens to be difficult. Since child custody is usually awarded to the parent that shows they have their kids’ best interests at heart, it is not a stretch to think that your child’s former spouse would allow you to see your grandkids. Besides, it never hurts to ask.
If all else fails, and you believe that your grandchildren are in a toxic environment, you can always attempt to sue for child custody, but make sure that you have established grounds and evidence for your suit. You should also be aware and confident that the ruling will be in your favor since you may also be liable for the legal costs in the event the court rules in favor of the defendant.