For the most part, grandparents have no say in what becomes of their grandchildren after a divorce, but one thing grandparents need to understand is that these are state laws. Not only are these laws starting to change, but there are a few states where grandparents have some rights under certain conditions. For example, grandparent rights in missouri exist for visitation. The following are a few things you should know.
Grandparents rights to custody
This should be explained first before talking about visitation rights. It should be kept in mind that grandparents do have custodial rights. However, this is usually reserved for the children of a parent or parents who are not suitable to raise a child. It is certainly more common when a single parent has died, and the non-custodial parent is not fit to be a parent. In this situation, you may be able to win custody. If the non-custodial parent is out of the picture but the custodial parent has remarried and recently passed away, you may be able to get custody because the courts may favor the grandparents over the stepparent.
Grandparents rights to visitation
This is a right that is only now beginning to be recognized by the court, and it depends upon which state you live in as to whether you have them at all. However, here in Missouri, there are certainly possibilities. The most important element is the relationship that a grandparent or both grandparents had before the divorce. Even in a state that is friendly to grandparents visitation rights, the courts will seldom give these rights to grandparents out of the blue. There should always be a prior relationship that can be demonstrated to be true with the courts. Grandparents simply do not have the same rights as parents do during and after a divorce.
Keep in mind that the laws can be complex in this area because everything is new and changing. Always consult with a family law attorney. Tell him or her your situation and an attorney can discuss with you the possibilities for either custody or visitation.