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Tips for grandparents unable to visit their grandchildren

Grandparents in Maryland who have been denied visitation of their grandchildren by the children's parents legally have the option of petitioning the court for visitation time. Before taking legal steps, however, they may want to try other methods for resolving the issues that have resulted in the familial rift.

Parents who have chosen to deny grandparents visitation of their grandchildren do not always make this choice because of anything to do with the child's relationship with the grandparent. In many cases, the damaged relationship involves poor communication between the child's parent and the child's grandparent, so grandparents could try to settle disagreements and quell resentment using effective communication. If this proves difficult, family counseling or mediation may help.

Grandparents may be able to resolve issues that could lead to a separation from their grandchildren before they get out of control. At times, grandparents may have to swallow their pride and compromise in order to keep a relatively minor issue from escalating into a complete cut-off of all communication. While attempting to heal family disputes, grandparents may benefit from joining an online support group with other grandparents who are going through the same thing.

When parents are unwilling to communicate with grandparents at all, the only viable option left may be to file a petition for visitation with the court. A family law attorney could assist a grandparent with his or her petition by helping gather all relevant evidence to establish that a healthy relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild once existed. Grandparents who can show proof that the grandchild once lived in their home may have a greater chance of succeeding with their petition for visitation.

Source: AARP, "Grandparents' Visitation Rights", Amy Goyer, October 21, 2014

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