In Indiana, the subject of grandparent’s rights has become a hot topic issue. The growing drug epidemic in Indiana has ripped families apart. It has not only burdened the Indiana foster care system, it has also given grandparents a heavier load to bear by having to raise their grandchildren. This increasingly common societal trend has left many wonder, what rights do grandparents have in Indiana?
In the instance of grandparents who have been granted custody of their grandchildren due to the parent’s inability to adequately provide a stable home, grandparent’s rights are more clearly established. The Courts have already decided that a grandparent/grandchild relationship is in the child’s best interests. And even in the best circumstance, Mom and Dad turn their lives around and Parent/Child are reunited, the Courts will likely look at the relationship already established and encourage visitation in the child’s best interest.
But what about those grandparents who have never had to step up to the parenting plate, in regard to parenting their own grandchildren. In Indiana, are grandparents legally entitled to visitation with their grandchildren?
That could depend on a few different factors.
- If the parents are married, the Court will not order the parents to provide visits to the grandparents. Because parents have a constitutional right to raise their children as they see fit, the Courts will not step and decide for them that the grandparents are entitled to involvement. The visitation grandparents receive when the parents are married is purely at the parent’s discretion. If the parents are divorced, or have never been married, that opens the door for potential visitation, granting the paternity has been established within the Court.
- If one or both parents is dead, then grandparents in Indiana may have a leg to stand on in terms of Court Ordered visitation with their grandchildren.
- If it is in the best interest of the child. At the end of the day, the Court’s ultimate goal is to act in the best interests of the child involved. If the grandparents had been involved in the child’s life.
Regardless of the circumstance, attempting to establish grandparent’s rights in Indiana can be a tricky process. Having an experienced attorney will be vital for success.