When a married couple separates this can often have far-reaching consequences for their daily lives and cause them to have to make some potentially difficult decisions. They certainly need to make arrangements for the parenting of their children, but what about other members of the family? How can a separation affect the grandparents?
What about Access?
Much will depend on the status of the relationship prior to the separation. If the split is largely amicable and not contentious then usually arrangements can be made to keep all parties happy in terms of access. This will include the wants and needs of the grandparents insofar as their access to the grandchildren is concerned.
A Lot at Stake
Grandparents typically develop a close bond with their grandchildren and like to see them as often as possible. This can be a strong part of the overall family fabric and can take a lot of pressure off the parents, especially if the grandparents are retired. It's possible that the grandparents may even look after the grandkids on a regular basis, helping the parents to avoid paying for special care or a nanny.
Making It Simple
Usually, it's best if the separating parents come to a mutual understanding to identify the primary caregiver going forward and sort out visitation. These arrangements should take into account the access to the children for the grandparents, as well.
Can the Grandparents Intervene?
Sometimes, the separation will become contentious and involve disagreement. In this case, sometimes the grandparents get involved for the benefit of the children. It is certainly possible for the grandparents to consult a court of law to try and get visitation or even custody, if they suspect that that would be in the best interests of the child.
What Will the Courts Say?
Other than that, if the court has to rule on parenting orders it's likely that they will only allow the paternal grandparents to visit with the children when the father has access and vice versa. It's highly unlikely that any court would allow grandparents from one side of the marriage to gain access to the children when they were ordinarily due to visit with the other parent.
How to Get Clarification
Of course, very little is ever clear cut when it comes to family law and arrangements such as this, so it's a good idea for you to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer, like one from Alexanders Lawyers, if you are a worried grandparent.