A divorce is between two people, right? You might be forgetting a few others: children, friends and grandparents. Close relatives are often overlooked as an important consideration in deciding on divorce issues, including child custody.
The child's interest is always priority No. 1 in child custody battles. It could be that the child spends a lot of time with their gran or pop. The grandparent should therefore be acknowledged during the divorce process.
Grandparents as caregivers
Grandparents are often primary caregivers. In troubled times the grandparent can be the last line of support in raising a child when a parent is unavailable.
However, required or not, grandparents are great at raising young children. Many grandmothers feel they are more wise, relaxed and involved when caring for grandchildren, compared to when they parented their own children.
Visitation with grandparents
What happens when a grandparent wants custody or visitation rights with grandchild? Grandparents do not have any automatic custody or visitation rights under Virginia's law. These rights are awarded by the court upon petition to those with a "legitimate interest".
Legitimacy is judged according to the child's best interest. This applies equally for any person that claims a bond with the child: parents, grandparents, stepparents, former stepparents, other family members or people outside the family.
It is important during a divorce that a child's interest always remain the top priority. If a grandparent is an important caregiver they deserve recognition during a divorce. Virginia's laws provide a way for grandparents to get custody or visitation of a child.