Things To Do In Illinois With A 5 Year Old Earning Your Grandparents Rights

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Earning Your Grandparents Rights

Don’t look in the United States Constitution, you won’t find any grandparent rights clauses. You can look into your state laws, but you will find that every state has some semblance of a grandparent bill of rights, however each state law is different, they are not deeply rooted in precedent, and the burden of proof rests squarely on the grandparent. The Supreme Court ruled in Troxel v. Granville, Washington, in June 2000, that in order to preserve the best interests of the child as well as the rights of the parents (protected by the 1st, 5th, 9th, and 14th Amendments), the grandparent must show that the grandchild will be harmed by not have a grandparent visit. That is indeed a high legal bar to overcome. Things are further complicated by the fact that in most cases the laws of the state in which the grandchild resides apply. Another bombshell is that if a grandchild is adopted, in most cases the grandparent’s rights are effectively terminated. Wow, that’s a bummer!

What to do? I will return to the title of this article.

If you’re looking for a silver bullet or guarantees, you’ll need to take a strong magnifying glass and read the words etched on the back at the base of the Unicorn’s horn. For many reasons, there is no easy solution to grandparent rights. When I try to find a viable solution to this problem, I go back to a logic class in college to illustrate how complicated the answer is. It’s called the IF/THEN syllogism: IF life is complicated (and it is) and family is complicated (and it is, exponentially so), THEN family life is really, really complicated. Try now to write laws that fairly cover all circumstances for three generations in a family in today’s society.

Please do not make the mistake of thinking that I am taking a very serious subject lightly. Not at all. I just want to set the stage for the reality of the moment as it relates to this topic of grandparent rights, which is very near and dear to this proud grandfather of six wonderful grandchildren. I wish I had a message of justice and simplicity, but it is not a wish.

When I started studying this subject a few years ago, I naturally came to it purely out of personal interest. As I delved into legal information, case studies, grandparent organization reports, legislative action, and real-life stories of grandparents struggling to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren, I was exposed to sadness, outrage, hope, admiration, gratitude, and enlightenment.

As a result, I have come to the conclusion that the answer is simple (the best interest of the child is paramount), but not easy. The answer cannot be legislated, but must be protected by every word of the law. The answer will not be the result of one person’s thinking. The best interest of the child must be the product of all involved. The best interest of the child will require cooperation, not division at a very difficult time for the family unit.

A grandchild’s best interests sometimes require grandparents to suspend judgment, withhold comments, support parental wishes with which they may disagree, and be present for your grandchild with all their might. I remember a question that a friend who was older and wiser than me asked me. He asks, “How much are you willing to pay to be right?”. Keep this in mind at all times when it comes to your grandchildren and their parents. Work with your parents to do everything you can to ensure your grandchildren’s best interest and a much better chance of your grandparent’s rights. There you have it, the answer to the question “What to do”. Be a caring grandparent with your grandchild’s best interest at the fore.

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