Grandparents always ask, “do I have rights?” Every state has some form of grandparent visitation rights statutes. The concept of “grandparent rights” is misleading because grandparents believe that it is a guarantee that by filing a petition in court that the court ordered visits will be automatic. This is not the case, it’s a tedious process and ultimately, the decision falls on the judge.
In my opinion, grandparent rights laws serve as a deterrent that may alert the parents to think twice before cutting off contact.
In reality, grandparent rights came about to protect and preserve the established bond between grandchild and grandparent; most language emphasizes the ‘best interest’ criteria. Because parents don’t always serve the child’s best interests, the burden falls upon the grandparent’s shoulders to file the petition on behalf of giving the child a voice.