Seeking Solutions That Benefit Children
When married parents divorce or when unmarried parents break up, it can be difficult to maintain family unity. Despite the best efforts of lawyers and family members, life sometimes presents difficult situations with respect to child custody arrangements. For example, an award of sole custody to a parent may mean that a child has less contact with the other parent, and by extension, grandparents.
I am Cincinnati grandparents’ rights attorney Maury White, and I have served families in Ohio for nearly 35 years. During that time, I have developed a strong belief that children can greatly benefit when members of the extended family, including grandparents, are a part of children’s lives. I have also seen situations in which parents themselves were unable to properly care for their child, and watched as loving grandparents stepped in to safeguard the child.
I am convinced that in certain cases it is proper and perhaps necessary for grandparents to have visitation rights, and in some instances, even custodial/parental rights to their grandchildren.
Finding Solutions to Difficult Custody Problems
As a practitioner of Collaborative Law, I stress the importance of problem solving in all of my cases. How does this apply to grandparents' visitation or custody rights? Most importantly, and simply, it applies in finding out exactly why and how a family has come to the point where a grandparent believes he or she must take on a more prominent role in a grandchild’s life. There may be a variety of reasons, including:
- The parents themselves are young and are unable to financially support their child.
- One or both parents may be engaged in behaviors harmful to the child, such as drug use or alcohol abuse.
- One parent may be using the child as a pawn to get more out of a divorce settlement.
- A parent may pass away and the remaining parent may be denying reasonable visitation rights to the grandparents.
- A noncustodial parent may be concerned that if the custodial parent relocates with the child, the child will be unable to have a relationship with grandparents.
Collaboration and Mediation for Grandparents’ Rights Cases
Like many child custody or modification issues, the traditional method of resolution for grandparents’ rights cases has been the family court system. In my practice, however, I abandoned litigation in favor of more holistic approaches, namely Collaborative Law and mediation.
Both of these approaches are superior to litigation for many reasons, chief among them the fact that they are aimed at healthy, open approaches to conflict as opposed to adversarial court proceedings that pit one family member against another. I would encourage you to read more about the unique nature of Collaborative Family Law, as well as my page on mediation.
Whether you are a grandparent seeking to assert visitation or parental rights, or if you are a parent seeking to preserve your child’s relationships with your own parents, I am ready to sit down with you, discuss your situation and help you choose a course of action – one that is best for you and your family.