Is There a Right to See Your Grandchildren?

I know a shattered family.

For various reasons, there are multiple parties fighting and each has their lawyers in tow. At the center of the conflict are those who have the least amount of say in the situation: the kids. The children's parents have decided their grandparents will not be in their lives. Their claim is that the grandparents are angry, unstable, negative influences. The grandparents also bad-mouth the parents to the children. The grandparents, meanwhile, claim that they have a right to see those children, and that the parents cannot deny them visitation. Who is right?

There are scores of organizations dedicated to fighting for grandparents' rights, each claiming that it is detrimental to children to be robbed of their grandparents.

And many times, these people want the state to intervene and mandate that grandparents should have visitation rights.

So where does the law come in on this family issue? And what is the answer? Should grandparents have any rights to their grandchildren, or should the word of the parents be law? What further complicates the issue is that according to the AARP more and more grandparents are raising their grandchildren. What happens if a parent suddenly decides they want to take custody back and deny that grandparent visitation? What rights does the grandparent have then? And there could be questions that arise even if the grandparent isn't the primary caregiver. Many grandparents watch the grandkids during the day, help pay for supplies children need, and are invested in their grandchildren's lives.