When grandparents are estranged because of custody

grandchild reading book while sitting in swinging hanging chair with grandfather

Grandparents often play an important role in children’s lives. Unfortunately, there are some instances where grandparents can lose contact with their grandchildren, either from a separation, divorce, or a remarriage. Divorce especially triggers an outpouring of emotions for everyone involved, including the divorcing couple’s parent. While some marriages end amicably, others can end in a bitter court battle and grandparents run the risk of not being able to see their grandchildren as consistently as they’re used to, or sometimes not at all.

Try not to alienate your adult child’s ex-spouse

One mistake that hurting grandparents make when their child gets divorced is taking sides with their own adult child. Badmouthing a daughter- or son-in-law may feel good around the dinner table, but if your remarks go public, the stage is set for a battle involving your grandchildren. Instead of badmouthing, try to acknowledge the effort your child put in to make their relationship work. You’ll regret harsh words if your child and the ex decide to reconnect in the future. Saying cruel things has the potential of causing irreparable harm.

Learning how to cope

In Texas legislation, grandparents aren’t entitled to see their grandchildren and they can do very little in court to gain access to them. When this happens and it seems like there’s nothing to do, learning how to cope can lessen the emotional toll. Recognize that anger is your worst enemy and can cause you to do something that will only worsen the gap between you and your grandkids. Realize that the situation is out of your control and try to focus your energies into positive activities.

Remember, time is a great healer of even the deepest wounds. Chances are that the opportunity will arise for reconnecting with your grandchildren.

Get a court order

As stated previously, grandparents have few rights when it comes to accessing their grandchildren. But if you’re truly committed to remaining part of their lives, then taking it to court may seem like the only viable option to you. If you are able to get into court, they may order visitation only — if they’ve decided it’s in the child’s best interest, and if one of the following exists:

  • The child’s parents are divorced
  • The child has lived with the grandparents for more than six months
  • The parents neglected or abused their child

All of this only determines rights to visitation, not custody.