Grandparents in Massachusetts do not have automatic rights to visit their grandchildren after a divorce. Rather, they have to petition the Probate and Family Court for child visitation if the parents (one of whom is the grandparents child) has denied access to the grandchildren. They are eligible to petition if the parents are divorced, living apart or under a temporary order of separate support.
A few years ago, a New Hampshire man recently killed himself on the courthouse steps of the Cheshire County Courthouse. He had been involved in domestic legal matters for years and had finally had enough, according to a statement he made before immolating himself. Although the story is now new, it shows how ordinary people can be pushed too far when they become caught up in "the system."
But one state is trying to address this.
You may remember the case of a convicted rapist who argued last fall that he should have child visitation rights to the child he fathered when he raped that child's 14-year-old mother. His logic was that if he had to pay child support he should be able to see the child.
There are many reasons cited for why smokers should quit. Now there seems to be a new reason to stop: losing custody of one's children.
A Massachusetts man was finally able to visit with his children in Egypt. Although Colin Bower was granted sole custody of his two sons in his 2008 divorce, his ex-wife, who holds both Egyptian and British citizenship, removed them from the United States using fake passports during a scheduled visit in 2009. Bower has made 12 visits to Egypt in the past two years in an effort to see his children, but has only seen them three times.
Around the country many grandparents are pushing for more rights to visitation of grandchildren. The laws around grandparents' rights and court precedents vary greatly from state to state, with some states more friendly toward parents and others more friendly toward grandparents.