Beyond Grandparents Day, the Legal Battle for Grandparent Rights Continues
Richard Victor was three years out of law school when he heard a story about a grandmother being denied visits with her grandchildren after her daughter died of cancer. It was the 1970s and the young lawyer couldn't help but think about how one day his own family, or any other, for that matter, could be affected by a similar fate.
Victor decided to represent the grandmother, and in 1978 got Michigan law changed to create rights for grandparents, unexpectedly becoming a leader in the movement. Today, he runs the non-profit Grandparents Rights Organization.
On Sun., Sept. 12 the country will celebrate Grandparents Day and honor the people whose love and dedication to children is often taken for granted. Some grandparents will receive cards, others will enjoy a visit with their grandchildren and some might receive a gift.
But Grandparents Day is not always a happy occasion and can go unmarked for those who are fighting for the right to be a part of their grandchildren's lives. Several decades of changing social norms that affect family structures -- including divorce and out-of-wedlock children -- have created a nationwide movement to secure grandparents the right to see their grandchildren.
Editor's Note: This series was originally published on Sept. 11, 2009.