If you’re a parent who is contemplating divorce in Washington, you no doubt have many questions and concerns regarding state laws that may have implications for your children’s lives.

As their parent, you know what is best for them. However, it is possible that certain child custody laws may apply in your case that might cause you to have to do certain things that you would rather not do.

For instance, perhaps, for various reasons, you believe it is best for your children to limit the amount of time they spend with your in-laws. This could become a serious problem in your divorce.

In this state, grandparents may petition the court for visitation, meaning that the judge overseeing your case would issue specific orders as to how often, when and where your in-laws may have your children in their care.

Troxel v. Granville was initiated out of Washington

A child custody case that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court had its beginnings here in Washington.

A grandmother sued for visitation rights when the mother of her grandchildren was not allowing her to visit as frequently as she would have liked. The high court ruled that the statute in Washington was in violation of a fit parent’s right to determine what is best for his or her children.

The court did not rule, however, that grandparents may not sue for custody or visitation, only that a specific statute on the books in Washington was unconstitutional.

Resolving grandparent disputes may be possible through mediation

Even if you and your ex’s parents have always gotten along well, disputes may arise when emotions run high in a divorce.

Children fare best in such situations when they witness the adults in their lives working together to create a plan that protects their best interests as family dynamics change following a divorce. It is always best to try to resolve differences through negotiation.

However, as a parent, it is understandable that you want to protect your rights and the best interests of your children, which means litigation might be necessary if you are unable to resolve a particular issue on your own.

You should never hesitate to reach out for additional support, especially in situations where you believe your children may be at risk. For grandparents and parents alike, cooperation and compromise are key factors in maintaining peace regarding child custody after a divorce.