Going through a divorce, especially for couples with children, is a difficult and often highly emotional experience for all involved. That includes grandparents, who typically want to be available to help their adult child and grandchildren walk through the process.
While grandparents can provide an important support system for their adult kids and grandkids during a healthy marriage, their love and support during a divorce can be even more valuable. Still, once divorce proceedings are underway, many grandparents are left to ponder what role, if any, they will have after the divorce?
While state laws differ on this topic, most judges follow the lead of the parents when it comes to grandparent visitation. The court is bound to render decisions that are in the best interests of the child/children. In many cases, if both parents support grandparent visitation, it will likely be granted. Conversely, if both oppose, it will likely be denied.
If you’re a grandparent whose family is going through a divorce, and you’d like to maximize the opportunities for you to visit your grandkids, here are a few ideas that you may find helpful.
Be Wise in Your Relationship with the Other Parent. Your adult child’s ex-spouse will assuredly be a part of your life for many years. If you want to attend your grandchildren’s sporting events, school graduations, birthday parties and other special activities, you’ll be wise in keeping the relationship as cordial as possible.
Keep Your Relationships with Grandkids Normal. Most kids struggle during and after a divorce. Your steady presence and love can be especially reassuring. Make sure you know the custody arrangements and any specifics about your communications with the grandkids (frequency of calls and texts, usage of emails, etc.). When you’re interacting with them, keep things as normal as possible.
Stay Calm and Have Fun. You can be a great role model for your grandkids by helping them to have fun during this stressful time. Do they have a favorite park to visit or activity to engage in? This may help take their mind off more unpleasant thoughts related to the divorce.
Remain Neutral. It’s only natural to align yourself with your adult child. Even if you cannot tolerate the other parent, you must stay neutral about that parent when in the presence of your grandkids.