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Proving an established, beneficial relationship with a grandchild

Every state has different rules regarding the rights of grandparents to maintain an active relationship with their grandchildren despite the wishes of the children's parents.

In Nebraska, the court generally can't intercede in a family dispute and order visitation for grandparents who have been shut out unless certain circumstances apply.

In addition, grandparents have to prove that they've already established a "significantly beneficial" connection with the child in question.

This can be a huge barrier to a successful request for visitation if you can't provide the necessary evidence. That's why it pays to think ahead to the awful -- but possible -- fact that you could one day be in court trying to prove that you should have a right to see your grandchild.

One example that is helpful to keep in mind is what could possibly happen if your child dies and your son-in-law or daughter-in-law remarries and the new spouse doesn't like being in the picture as they create a new family. In cases like that, you want all the evidence you can bring into court to show your relationship with your grandchild:

  • Keep a journal. Record things in it like all the times you dropped everything to stay over and babysit while your grandchild was sick but his or her parents needed to be at work.
  • Write down important small details that your grandchild confides in you, like the name of his or her crush at school, which teacher is his or her favorite and how he or she feels about anything important happening.
  • Jot down phone calls and visits and a brief note about what you either talked about or did during the time.
  • Keep photos of you interacting with your grandchildren.
  • Keep receipts for trips to the zoo, nail salon, the indoor jungle gym and the martial arts lessons you covered.
  • If your grandchildren have email, learn to use it and communicate often. Keep all emails in a special folder and have a backup.
  • Keep receipts for purchases of school clothes, supplies, electronics, bedroom items, haircuts and shoes.

Keep in mind that you aren't doing this to be petty. Hopefully, you can one day throw away any part of the collection that makes you feel that way (like the receipts). In An attorney can provide you with advice on grandparent's rights so you can learn more about this important topic.

Source: the spruce, "Why You Should Document Your Relationship With Grandchildren," Susan Adcox, accessed Sep. 08, 2017

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