A continuing focus on the role of grandparents following divorce

The immediately preceding blog post entry discussed emerging trends in American life that have fundamentally impacted the role that grandparents play in the lives of their children and grandchildren in many instances. Today’s post expands on that topic, especially what has been called “the interplay of financial frailty and divorce.”

What that means is this: Given the hard economic times that many relatively young couples are facing when they divorce, coupled with the historically high level generally of grandparent financial contributions to the kids and grandkids (alluded to in the prior blog post), the potential for some complexity and even multi-generational conflict and tension exists post-divorce.

In other words, what do grandpa and grandma do following a split involving one of their kids, when they have engaged over time in a consistent pattern of giving and involvement? If things suddenly change, as they often do following a divorce, how should financial issues — money assistance to the child, gifts for the grandchildren, help with rent or groceries and so forth — be thought about and resolved?

Many family law experts point out that things can get tricky. For example, a regular habit of grandparental giving might be deemed by an ex-spouse or even a court as income that should offset child support obligations. A new dynamic in child custody or other family-related matters might result in a parent suddenly extracting financial promises and pledges from grandparents in return for visits with the grandchildren. Visitation rights might suddenly seem uncertain. How often do the grandparents get to stop over or have the grandkids come to them? Is there a right to be invited to school functions and sport events?

A grandparent’s role following a child’s divorce is not always clear and impervious to challenge. Contact a Georgia family law attorney with proven experience in matters relating to grandparents’ legal rights and interests for answers to questions and strong advocacy in any family law case involving grandchildren.

Source: Reuters, “Grandparents, purse strings and divorce,” Temma Ehrenfeld, July 23, 2012

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