Keith B. Schulefand, Esq.
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What should grandparents do during a custody dispute

Grandparents can sometimes feel helpless when their grandchildren are caught in the crossfire between two warring parents. They face a common conundrum of deciding whether to intervene. On the one hand, if they take a side, they risk being ostracized from their grandchild. If they do nothing in the hope that the parents can work it out, the child risks further emotional harm that they don’t deserve.  

Indeed, being a grandparent in these situations is not easy. You must navigate a minefield of hurt feelings, assumptions and regrets. This post will provide some helpful hints to maximize your options in difficult situations.

Keep things positive – You may have forgotten over the years, but children hear everything. As such, it is critical to avoid negative comments a limit disparaging statements as much as possible. This may not be easy if the other parent is disrespectful and mean to you out of spite, but retaliating in kind may only lead to more anxiety among the parents and grandchildren.

Have a diplomatic ear – Kids tend to confide in people they look up to. So difficult questions coming from a child embroiled in a custody dispute are very likely. In these situations, a grandparent may be best served by remaining neutral and offering positive comments about the child’s parents and reminding the child that both parents love them.  

Don’t hold grudges – In the same vein as keeping things positive, it is important to resist holding grudges against a child’s parents (or the child’s other grandparents).

If you have questions about the legal process of establishing parenting time for grandparents, an experienced family law attorney can advise you. 

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