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How grandparents can set the stage for child custody inclusion

In many states, grandparents do not have the innate right to be included in child custody agreements. That means that after a divorce, one set of grandparents could easily be left out of their grandchildren's lives. Although grandparent rights are a hot topic right now, most jurisdictions -- including Pennsylvania -- prioritize paternal rights over grandparent visitation. With that being said, how can you position yourself to have access to your grandchildren after your own child divorces? Today, we provide some tips to help grandparents stay active in their young relatives' lives.

Grandparents may find themselves in the middle of a nasty divorce battle between their children and that person's soon-to-be ex-spouse. It is important to remember that grandparents can improve their chances of receiving grandparent visitation if they present a neutral face; that is, they should not take sides. Set a supportive tone for both parents. This will allow your grandchild to avoid being put between two arguing parents.

It is critical to remember that the best interests of the child should win out in every child custody situation. As a result, grandparents are urged to make sure that they are not putting the grandchild between any of the other parties involved in the child custody debate. Make sure, as a grandparent, that you allow negative comments from other adults to slide off your back, and accept that everyone is going through an emotional time. The more understanding you are toward your child and his or her ex, the higher your chances of retaining contact with your young relatives.

Grandparents are often interested in maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren. However, they are not afforded many legal rights in most jurisdictions, and grandparent visitation may still be a thing of the future. Still, grandparents can make a good case for regular contact with their grandchildren by being amiable and kind during their own child's breakup.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Grandparenting Children of Divorce" Risa Garon, May. 22, 2014

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