Family Law and Grandparents’ Rights

By John Anthony Ward on July 28, 2019

Visit with the grandparentsJohn Anthony Ward is a skilled family law attorney who is committed to helping the people of Kenosha, WI with legal matters surrounding divorce, child custody, and child visitation. A number of his clients are grandparents of children rather than the parents of children.

Grandparents occupy an interesting spot when it comes to family law and divorce disputes. Our legal team would like to consider the legal rights that grandparents have during a divorce, and what this may mean for grandchildren.

Why Grandparents’ Rights Must Be Considered

Even though many disputes about child custody and support involve the parents of a child, it’s important that the rights of grandparents be considered as well. The love, affection, stability, and support from grandparents can create a loving and nurturing environment that is ideal for a child.

It’s also important to consider that in some cases, the grandparents may be better suited to meet the needs of a child than that child’s biological parents.

Are There Federal Laws on Grandparent Rights in a Divorce?


Grandparents’ rights to child custody or visitation are not federally determined and instead vary from state to state.

Wisconsin State Law Regarding Grandparent Visitation

In the state of Wisconsin, grandparents can gain visitation rights to a grandchild even if it is against the wishes of that child’s custodial parents. Grandparents will need to petition for these visitation rights to be granted. The following factors will play a role on whether or not visitation rights are granted:

  • The child’s parents are divorced, separated, or one parent is deceased
  • The child is not adopted
  • The grandparent has a strong relationship with the child that was blocked by one or both parents
  • The grandparent will not override the custodial parent or parents’ decisions when it comes to the upbringing of the child
  • Visitation with a grandparent is in the best interests of the child

Our Kenosha divorce law firm can help with these matters.

Can Grandparents Get Custody of a Child in a Divorce?

Yes, though this occurs in very rare circumstances.

In order for a grandparent to receive custody of a grandchild it must be shown that:

  • Grandparent custody would be in the best interests of the child
  • The child’s biological and/or custodial parent(s) are unfit to raise a child

There could be other circumstances as well related to resources and child well-being that make grandparent custody much more ideal.

Why Working with a Family Law Attorney Is Crucial

These disputes over the best interests of children in a divorce can become complicated, especially given the focus on parents when it comes to child custody and visitation. By working with a skilled family law attorney, you can get a step-by-step guide through the process of seeking child custody and visitation, always putting the best interests of your grandchild first.

Having a strong and fair advocate on your side will be crucial as you fight for the best interests of your grandchildren. That’s what we can offer.

Learn More About Grandparent Rights in Divorces

For more information about your legal options as a grandparent during a divorce, be sure to contact a skilled divorce law and child visitation attorney. John Anthony Ward can be reached by phone in Kenosha at (262) 654-8868.

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