After sixteen years of marriage with Mike, and devoting herself to caring for their household, Christine knew their marriage was over. Her conclusion was logical and rational but she had two children, ages 12 and 9, to consider. Where would the children live after divorce? Would she have to deal with Mike? Could Mike get custody of the children? How would she pay for the children’s expenses? Would Mike have the final say about the children since he paid for a majority of their expenses? Christine heard many conflicting answers from her friends. She was worried sick and could not sleep at night.
Grandparent's Child Custody Serves the Best Interests of the Child? (Bhanmattie H. v. Roxanne H.—2017.06.19)
In today’s world of “blended” and multi-generational families, one of the most difficult issues facing Courts and families is child custody, or with whom a child(ren) should live. Courts have traditionally seen the parent/child relationship as paramount, and have only disrupted this relationship under “extraordinary circumstances,” such as when the parent has been physically or sexually abusive, has been severely and persistently neglectful, and/or has serious mental, physical, or substance abuse issues. Courts viewed third parties, such as grandparents, as “secondary” sources of child custody, and have given them the opportunity to parent only when the child’s biological parents were deemed unable or unfit for custody of the child. However, courts are beginning to recognize the realities of many families where grandparents are invaluable figures. Rather than dismissing grandparents as secondary figures when it comes to child custody, courts are looking to the best interests of the child.