After a divorce, issues like a grandparents’ visitation rights may be left unidentified in the divorce papers. The good news is that Indiana state law has some provisions which address this situation.
The Indiana government code says the following regarding grandparents’ visitation rights:
- In Indiana, according to IC 31-17-5, "a child's grandparent may seek visitation rights if the marriage of the child's parents has been dissolved in Indiana.” When a petition has been filed, the court may grant visitation rights if it determines that visitation rights are in the child’s best interests. In determining the child’s best interests, the court may consider whether a grandparent has had or has attempted to have meaningful contact with the child. It is recommended that a grandparent consult with an attorney for assistance in establishing a history of contact that will support the petition for visitation rights. Additional information regarding the grandparents' visitation rights statute can be reviewed in IC 31-17-5-1 through 10 linked here.
- Grandparents can also play very important roles as a relative caregiver (foster parent or adoptive parent). In some situations, grandparents could be involved in the DCS Child and Family Team Meeting process, aiding their children who are the primary caregivers. In other words, DCS (Department of Child Services) can give grandparents the option to be involved in Child and Family Team Meetings where people collaborate to build a system of support and accountability for a family that has a child in the system.
So what does this mean?
Essentially, if there has been a divorce or a dissolved marriage, then a grandparent can try to obtain visitation rights from a court. When the court receives your petition for visitation, they will decide if it is in the child’s best interest. Other situations involving a DCS child may have different guidelines that must be followed as well.
It is recommended that you seek out an attorney when you file for visitation rights. Doing so could highly increase the chances of getting your desired outcome.