How many grandparents do you have left?

Legal question of the day:

Grandparents can play an important role in family life. They often provide valuable help, especially when it comes to childcare. What rights and obligations do grandma and grandpa have?


Most grandparents enjoy looking after their grandchildren. At the same time, they relieve the parents and make a valuable contribution to raising children. However, there is no obligation. In fact, grandparents have some rights but few responsibilities. Of course, if they are transferred accordingly, they have the duty to supervise the grandchildren. You are free to decide whether you want to take over this.

No duty to supervise

There is no legal obligation to take care of the offspring of one's own children. If the time does not fit or if there is a bad mood within the family, the parents cannot force grandma and grandpa to babysit. But if everyone agrees, life as an extended family can be a real asset. For a structured everyday life, it can make sense to work out a clear plan together: for example, for regularly picking up the children from daycare on a certain day of the week. If the grandparents live further away, a weekend visit can give the parents a little break.

Right to contact

Conversely, grandparents have a right to have contact with the child. This Access rights can even enforce them in court. The basic requirement is that the handling of the Child welfare corresponds to. Difficulties often arise when parents separate or divorce. If a parent then denies the former in-laws time with the children, they can sue for their rights. The courts usually assume that dealing with grandma and grandpa is good for the child. The grandparents' right to access can only be refused if there are clear reasons against the child's welfare.

No duty of education

During the time they spend together, grandparents have only a very limited duty to raise their children. This means, for example, that they do not have to encourage their grandchildren to practice the piano if they have little time together. Even if the parents want to practice daily. When working together, it is of course advisable that the grandparents have the Parenting style of the parents and help to implement them. But the parents also have to put up with the fact that grandma and grandpa live their own way of dealing with the child and certainly spoil them a little more than the parents.

Grandparenthood and Guardianship

Under certain conditions it is possible for grandparents to take “parental leave” to look after a grandchild. The prerequisite is that one of the parents is a minor and is still attending school or doing an apprenticeship. But then the grandchild also has to live in the grandparents' household. If parents cannot look after their child and the family court has to order guardianship, the grandparents are usually given priority. Again, there is no obligation to assume guardianship.

Grandchildren support

The principle states that parents are obliged to support their children. In practice this is not always possible. The law accordingly provides for a maintenance obligation for straight relatives. That means that in individual cases Grandparents their grandchildren Entertains have to afford if the parents cannot. The reverse is also conceivable. Under certain conditions, grandchildren have to pay for the maintenance of grandma and grandpa.

Traveling together

Most children find a trip together with grandma and grandpa wonderful. So they have a longer time together and sometimes an extra vacation. Such a trip should be well prepared so that there are no nasty surprises at the airport or at the border. A Power of attorney is as important as one Power of attorney for medical emergencies. The documents should be written in German and the language of the holiday destination. Alternatively, the second version can also be written in English. If the grandparents do not have such a power of attorney with them, the trip can end at the airport. Many airlines refuse to take you on board without a power of attorney.

Omataxi to kindergarten

If grandma takes the child to daycare, that's no problem. It can be more difficult when you pick it up. Educators are not allowed to just hand the child over to anyone. Even if the child confirms that they are grandma and grandpa. Parents should therefore consider their grandparents in daycare or crèche Authorized to collect specify. Some institutions have for this special forms. The grandparents should be able to identify themselves when they are picked up.

A computer for a birthday

Grandparents are free to choose their gifts. Parents have no legal remedy to prohibit expensive gifts or gifts that are contrary to the style of upbringing. Here, too, the principle of mutual consideration. If the grandparents know that the parents refuse electronic toys, they should not spoil the children's birthday with such a gift. The parents, on the other hand, should also accept that the gifts from grandma and grandpa do not have to please them, but the child. In the case of larger purchases, an agreement between the adults is sensible and recommended.


As in many other situations in life, good communication is the key to happiness. If parents and grandparents coordinate properly, everyone benefits from it. And as part of a happy childhood, the grandchildren in particular are given many wonderful memories of the time together with grandma and grandpa.