Cousins and Custody Arrangements, Maintaining Relationships
Custody Battles can be extremely difficult. The most important concern is that of the child or children in question, but what about extended family? What are the rights of extended family to continue to develop relationships and spend time with the child? There are many situations where grandparents, aunts and uncles are primary caregivers to children. When this time is minimized dramatically, or ended all together, it can be extremely traumatic to the child as well as the family. When custody arrangements are debated, oftentimes parents are so consumed with their own desires that the needs of extended family are overlooked. See my related thoughts on Grandparents’ Rights from an earlier Blog article.
When a family separates, there are times when one spouse will keep a child from the other’s family. It’s the sad truth. If you are in this position, it’s important to realize that you do have rights. Each situation is unique, so it is important to meet with a Rhode Island Family Lawyer who specializes in Child Custody arrangements to learn about what you can do to open the lines of communication with the child’s custodial parent in order to improve visitation opportunity.
In the meantime, there are ways that you can stay in touch with your loved one. Start a journal to document your thoughts and feelings, write letters or create art work for the child that you can send via mail. Small gestures that arrive regularly will tell the child that you love them and help them feel that they matter in your life. If a child is old enough to use social media, explore apps like Apple Facetime or Skype if the custodial parent will allow. Others like Snapchat or Instagram allow you to talk and share pictures and video to maintain connections when you are apart.
With effort, time and proper guidance, the hope is that opportunities can be created to bring the child back into your daily life. Cousins can often be a child’s earliest and best friends. Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents play important and intimate roles as well. It’s very important to maintain these relationships in whatever way is possible during even the most difficult custody battles.
For more information on your specific situation, contact your lawyer to discuss your options.