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The rights of grandparents in Massachusetts

Divorce affects more than the two spouses that are going their separate ways, especially when children are involved. While Massachusetts parents are drawing up their custody and visitation arrangements and going through mediation or litigation to finalize orders, grandparents often have their own concerns about their grandchildren.

Many grandparents fear that divorce will harm their relationship with their grandchildren. Grandparents also fear for the wellbeing of their grandchildren if there are presumptions of abuse or neglect from one or both parents.

The top concern of the court system is always the children. Their best interest is fostered in the best ability. While making sure that they are placed in the right home and that parental custody and visitation is correctly arranged is the main part of that, the courts also recognize that grandparents do play a significant role in the lives of grandchildren.

This can be seen by reviewing the multiple Massachusetts court cases in which grandparents have been awarded legal rights. To have such an order granted, grandparents must often prove that a parent withholding visitation can lead to significant harm against the child.

Legal authorities maintain that parental discretion is the main dictator behind visitation with grandparents, but grandparents do have the right to petition for visitation, even if they have no previous relationship with their grandchildren.

To begin the process of obtaining visitation with a grandchild, grandparents should complete a Petition for Grandparent Visitation form. Speaking to an experienced attorney about grandparents’ rights could also be beneficial.  

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