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Grandparent's rights: Why records are important

Grandparents don't have an automatic right to see their grandchildren in the state of Nebraska. That means that you may need to take steps to protect that precious relationship.

In general, courts will only allow grandparents to successfully seek visitation rights over a parent's objection when they can establish that there's clear evidence that the grandparent and grandchild had established a significant relationship that benefited the child.

In other words, if you ever find yourself in court, you'll need to show documentation of your good relationship with your grandchildren in order to keep seeing them.

Don't think you could ever end up in that situation? Most people don't. However, if your grandchildren's parents divorce or one parent dies, you could find yourself persona non grata if the other parent moves on or remarries.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your relationship with your grandchildren.

Consider any of the following items a potential piece of documentation that would have value in court:

  • Letters, drawings or cards given to you by your grandchildren
  • Photos of you with your grandchildren (don't forget those on your phone)
  • Text messages or email from the grandchildren
  • Receipts for clothes, toys or school supplies you purchased for them
  • Ticket stubs and photos from school events that you attended
  • Receipts from dinners and other events, like a day at the zoo
  • Receipts for special purchases that benefited the children, like karate lessons or swimming lessons their parents couldn't afford
  • A notebook that keeps track of when you spoke to the children on the phone, picked them up from school or took them to doctor's visits
  • A record of times you stayed over to babysit when the children were sick

It's important to remember that electronic evidence can be easily lost or destroyed. If you keep a lot of notes, texts and photos on your phone, for example, they can all be lost if your phone breaks. Upload all of your electronic data to cloud storage and consider a backup copy as well.

Hopefully, you'll never really need all these things, and they'll just be there as pleasant reminders of your relationship. If you ever need to ask the court for grandparent's rights, however, these pictures and records could help support your request.

Source: thespruce.com, "Why You Should Document Your Relationship With Grandchildren," Susan Adcox, accessed March 08, 2018

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