Grandparent relationships with grandchildren vary widely from family to family. In some families, grandparents may live across the country, and grandchildren may only spend time with them on holidays. In other cases, grandparents may have a much more regular presence in their grandchildren’s lives.
A recent study by AARP found that more than a third (38%) of grandparents were either babysitters or caregivers to their grandchildren. Another study noted that regular childcare was provided by about 22% of these grandparents. The research also found that in a significant number of cases – around 11% – grandchildren and grandparents actually lived in the same home, either with or without the parents.
It’s important to really think about the role that grandparents play in a child’s life, especially when considering the impact of divorce. If a couple splits up, what does that mean for the grandparents’ involvement with the children that they love? How will their living situations change? Are the grandparents still going to see the children as much as before? Will they still provide the same direct care and love for them?
For grandparents, watching their own adult children get divorced can bring up a lot of questions and concerns. The same is true when a grandchild’s parents are not married and the relationship between them was never that stable.
It’s critical for grandparents to know what rights they have and what they can do to protect those rights when things change. It is only natural for grandparents to want to keep their relationship with their grandchildren as strong as possible.