Grandparents can end up playing a rather unique role during a divorce. While the grandparents want to be there for their adult child who is going through the divorce, the same grandparents also want to continue to maintain a close relationship with their grandchildren and be there for them emotionally during this time. However, while being there is one thing — and is encouraged — grandparents need to make sure to not overstep their boundaries.
The first thing to keep in mind is that as a grandparent it is never OK to just bring up the divorce with the grandchildren. Rather, if there are some concerns or a grandparent would like to be able to provide age-appropriate insight to the child, conversation first needs to take place with the parents of the child to make sure these conversations are not going to be a problem.
If the parents say it is OK, proceed with the conversations. However, know that is it often better for the child to bring up the topic first.
Along these same lines, especially after talking with the children, grandparents may have some concerns that they would like to bring up to their own adult children. Of course these conversations are also just fine, but make sure to be prepared, insightful and supportive. No doubt these adult children are going through a lot right now, so it is best to come in with helpful suggestions and information on where to get help and support. Make sure that during this time the adult children are not demeaned or criticized on their parenting.
Lastly, in Missouri, remember that grandparents have rights. Sadly, sometimes when there is a divorce, the parents of the non-custodial parent can find it difficult to maintain contact with their grandchildren. In some cases this leads to grandparents going to court to protect their visitation rights.
Source: The Huffington Post, “How Grandparents Can Help Grandchildren Adjust To The Challenges Of Divorce,” Rosalind Sedacca, Jan. 10, 2013
- Our law firm understands the uphill battle Missouri grandparents may face when trying to maintain contact with their grandchildren. To learn more, visit our St. Louis grandparents’ rights page.