I am not a big fan of grandparenting time if it infringes upon the right of a fit parent to decide whether that contact will be good for his or her child. However, there are some exceptions. One is a case where a parent is deceased and the child or children lived with the deceased parent and his or her parents prior to the parent's death. Obviously, unless there are some very good reasons to limit contact between children and the grandparents who helped to raise them, some kind of grandparenting time is completely appropriate. Grieving is hard enough for children. Grandparents can help keep the memory of a deceased parent alive.
Another obvious exception is when a parent is deployed. This is particularly true when the acrimony between divorced parents is such that the custodial parent will not allow telephone or Internet contact between the deployed parent. Throw a stepparent into the mix and often you'll find that the opposition to grandparent-grandchild contact is really an attempt to control access of the stepparent to the child or children.
Research shows that during deployments, it's a good thing for children to have access to their grandparents. This is particularly true when the grandparents can continue to support the children's memory of their absent parent and also when the grandparents can provide their grandchildren's access through telephone, SKYPE, webcam, etc. to the deployed parent.
You may print and read this document, Huebner, Angela J. and Mancini, Jay A., Supporting Youth Through Parental Deployment: Strategies for Families and Professionals, The Prevention Researcher, Vol 15 Supp, December 2008 on the Internet at 200% enlargement. [Last accessed November 2, 2010] Printed, it's more difficult to read. There is no download available. Numerous research studies are cited at the end, which may make it useful to you in litigating a grandparenting time complaint if the custodial non-deployed parent refuses to permit visitation.
I've developed some questionnaires to help frame the complaint for grandparenting time. You can find them here:
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