Grandparents often have just as strong of a connection with children than the parents themselves. Louisiana law recognizes the strength of this bond, as well as its importance in the proper upbringing of a child. However, courts do not typically grant the right to visit with a grandchild automatically during a divorce.
When marriages end amicably, there is not often an issue with visitation. Contentious divorces are another question entirely. If, for example, a grandparent suspected that the former son- or daughter-in-law could gain the majority of custody rights and subsequently deny access to the child, further action might be advisable.
As explained on KPLC's Legal Corner, divorce is one of the situations in which grandparents could potentially claim child visitation rights. There are also several other situations in which the court might step in and grant specific rights:
- When one parent dies
- If the parents live separately for more than six months
- If one of the parents goes to prison
Occasionally, divorces may involve a move out of the state. Unfortunately, this could complicate the matter, as laws in other jurisdictions could allow for different rights than do those in Louisiana. FindLaw's section on grandparent's rights includes a summary of each state's statute. Case law is also usually applicable.
As mentioned in the FindLaw summaries, even the states with which Louisiana shares a border have some notable differences. Mississippi courts, for example, could let children 12 years old or older help choose who gets custody. This is just one reason that each case is different. Please do not view this article as legal advice. It is meant to be basic background information.