Grandparents are the closest relatives to a child other than their parent, so naturally, it's also safe to assume that many of the rights of grandparents closely resemble those of the parent. Unfortunately, it's not always the case. Grandparent rights are not always as solid as you might think.
Back of the Line
Grandparents often feel just as entitled to their grandchildren as their child's parents. However, with many custodial issues, grandparents are at the back of the line. Consider a scenario where the custodial parent passes away and the remaining parent has had some stability issues in the past, for example.
The grandparents would not automatically get custody. The court would instead investigate the other parent to determine if they are suitable for custody. If the parent passes and wants custody, they will likely be the more favorable option for the court. The grandparents would likely only be granted custody if the other parent did not qualify or did not want the responsibility.
Visitation Is Not a Given
For grandparents, visitation is not necessarily a given. Instead, it's up to the parents to determine when the grandparents can see the children. Take a divorced couple, for instance. Assume the parents of the mother live in a different state and only visit during the summer months. However, the father has custody of the children during the summer.
In reality, the grandparent could not demand that the children be allowed to spend time with their mother during the summer while they're visiting. It would instead be solely up to the father to decide to allow the children to visit during this period, and if he decided not to, there isn't anything the mother or the grandparents could do.
No Say in Adoption
Grandparents also don't have much to say in matters of adoption. Putting up a child for adoption is a legal right of the biological parents. Even in a situation where the parents want to put the children up for adoption, but the grandparents' object, there is little that can be done to stop the process.
In this type of situation, the grandparents could work to persuade the parents to consider giving them custody of the child instead. However, if both parents do not agree with this option, the grandparents can't necessarily demand anything.
While there are some setbacks for grandparents, it's important to understand that you do still have some rights. An attorney with experience in grandparents' rights law can help you move forward with your concerns.