Saving Private Ryan's Family, by Dean Hughson
This weekend Saving Private Ryan opened at most box offices. The movie is a
blockbuster and it opens with a real ugly, bloody battle in the beginning.
It got me to thinking that Private Ryan, if he was a real person, would be witnessing
another battle right now. Probably he would be fighting, after a bloody court
battle, to gain access to his grandchildren.....a very common thing in these divorce
days. He saw a deadly battle once but this one is equally as frustrating and
Grandparents rights should be a given in my opinion. However in many states
grandparents have no standing. After a divorce a vindictive ex-spouse can withhold
access to the children. What has amazed me is that some feminists I have met on the
internet and even some men agree with this stance. They feel that the custodial parent
should have the final say on who has access to the kids, even to the exclusion of family
members. What can be in the best interests of the children not to see a grandparent?
Well, I can understand if the grandparent is crazed or a dangerous felon but that has
to be a small group; just like parents who shouldn't have access to the kids. Take a
look at some research whose parents don't get to see the children after a divorce (http://ssc.wisc.edu/cde/nsfhwp/nsfh74ab.htm)
contains a list of downloadable PDF documents.
contains the full text of which Dean provided the URL for the abstract --WHS]
and you will see that it is often the fathers.
I think that human rights groups, fathers rights groups, mothers rights groups, men's
groups, women's groups should be fighting the battle to get laws in all of our states
guaranteeing grandparents access to the kids. Kids need grandparents and if we truly
are concerned about the best interests of kids we should work to be sure that they are
protected from whichever parent is trying to revise history and wipe out the other parents
A model state is Alabama. Take a look at their grandparents visitation law at web
Check and see if your state has such a law. If not take a copy of this law and visit
a friendly state senator or representative and lobby to get a law in place. Be sure
you give support during the process because I guarantee you NOW (http://www.now.org/) and ACES (http://www.childsupport-aces.org/index.html)
will be there in opposition to the bill. Some groups such as ACFC (http://www.acfc.org/missn.htm) have already set
out grandparents rights as a mission.
How do you help your grandchild during a divorce? Dr. Eleanor Hamilton has some
advice at http://www.grandtimes.com/divorce.html
Margery Fridstein at
has spoken well to the problem also. Cool, calm support to the grandkids is a very helpful
For those of us who want to help families and perhaps our next generation, who face
divorce and the laws that are in place, we need to get involved politically and help
change the present system. You can make a difference.
Dean Hughson, ASK THE DIVORCED GUY