Dear Barb – Help Exists for Grandparents’ Rights

Dear Barb:

I hope you can help me with my dilemma. My youngest son and his wife have just separated and it was a difficult separation. They have two young boys and I’m having difficulty seeing my grandchildren. Their mother is so angry at my son that she is trying to keep the children away from our family.

I don’t know where to turn. These are my only grandchildren and I have been babysitting them since they were born. I thought I had a good relationship with my daughter-in-law, but she barely speaks to me now. I really love my grandchildren and want to be a part of their life. My son is also angry and seems to have given up the fight to see his children. Do you know if I have any legal rights? I have heard that there are some organizations, but I don’t know where to find information. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on a lawyer. Thanks for any help you can offer.


Hi, Eleanor. Being a grandparent myself I can definitely sympathize with you. I couldn’t imagine losing contact with my grandchildren. Your son and his wife have allowed their anger to take over, and as a result they are not taking into consideration their children’s best interests.

Children benefit on many levels when they have grandparents in their lives, especially during times of marital discord. Grandparents can provide a safe haven for their grandchildren, where they feel comfortable and cared for and are removed from the tension in their home.

Due to the rising rates of divorce and separation many grandparents find themselves in situations such as yours. Fortunately, several organizations have evolved to assist grandparents, not only emotionally but also to advise of their rights. There is an abundance of information on the web that I’m sure you will find useful.

A very good website that covers many aspects of this issue is Cangrands. On this site you will find links to support groups in your area, and you can also subscribe to their online magazine. This site is definitely worth checking out.

Also, for a reasonable yearly fee you can join The Canadian Grandparents Rights Association. They have chapters throughout most Canadian provinces. The National Branch is located in BC, and a quick Internet search should provide contact information for the chapter nearest you.

Great question, Eleanor. Best of luck.

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