Celebrating Grandparents Day: Top 5 Laws for Grandparents

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 07, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

This Sunday is Grandparents Day. And while we should be celebrating our elder family members every day, it is a nice reminder of how much they mean to us.

It can also be a reminder of how grandparents face some unique situations, legally speaking. The law often treats grandparents differently from parents, and differently than senior citizens without children or grandchildren. So here are five laws grandparents should be familiar with and consider in their relationships with their grandchildren.

1. What Are Grandparents' Rights to Visitation?

Most grandparents want to see their grandchildren, but some relationships between the grandparents and the parents aren't that cordial. So, can grandparents visit grandchildren without parental permission? That depends on state laws, which can vary from only permitting grandparents visitation if parents have divorced or if one is deceased to allowing grandparent visitation over the objections of a parent.

2. Grandparents Shared Custody Rights

Can grandparents have rights beyond visitation? In some cases, courts have awarding shared legal or physical custody rights to grandparents at the grandparents' request, if the parents have terminated custody or died, or if shared custody is in the best interest of the child.

3. Can Grandparents Be Ordered to Pay Child Support?

There are grandparent rights, and then there are grandparent responsibilities. And while the responsibility for child support normally falls on the parents, could grandparents be on the hook as well?

4. Tips for Leaving Assets to Grandchildren

Grandparents often also want to set aside a little inheritance for their grandchildren. And, from tax-free college accounts to generation-skipping trusts, they've never had more options. But make sure you do it right.

5. Beware the Grandparent Scam

While grandparents are often the objects of affection from their children and grandchildren, they can also be targeted by scammers. And they can be especially vulnerable to scams purported to involve their grandchildren.

Whether it's a grandchild visitation or custody issue, or you're looking for the best way to provide gifts for your grandchildren, an experienced family attorney can help.

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