In a typical divorce case, the judge divides custody and visitation between two parents. In many cases, custody battles limit or completely banish visitation rights to grandparents. Do grandparents have visitation rights? It varies from state to state, but grandparents have visitation rights in Kentucky under certain circumstances.
In Kentucky, a grandparent is allowed to sue for visitation rights even if the grandchild lives in an intact family. The court understands that even fit parents can make decisions that are not in the best interest of the child.
Grandparents may be awarded “reasonable visitation rights” if it is in the child’s best interest. A child’s “best interest” has specific meaning in family law. To achieve a child’s “best interest,” custody and visitation decisions are made to benefit a child’s happiness, security, mental health, and emotional development. The court will also take into account if the grandparents have meaningful contact with the grandchild and if the child’s parents allowed visitation to the grandparents previously. In addition, the relationship between the parents and grandparents play a factor.
Several steps are taken by the court to grant visitation rights to grandparents. First, the court will evaluate the marital status of the parents to determine if visitation rights are needed for the grandparents. In some states, the marital status is only considered if the parents deny a grandparent visitation. In other states, marital status is only considered if the grandchild resided with the grandparents for a length of time. The Kentucky Court of Appeals has recently heightened the level of scrutiny given to grandparent visitation cases by determining if the parents are fit and making decisions in the best interest of their child. To prove the parents are not acting in the best interest of the child, the grandparents must clearly convince the court that visitation rights are in the best interest of the child.
Case law has strongly influenced grandparent visitation rights. Grandparent visitation rights are most common when a child’s parents are deceased or if the child is adopted or put into foster care. If the judge decides that grandparent visitation rights are in the child’s best interest, visitation rights will likely be granted.
Commonly Asked Questions:
Do grandparents have visitation rights if the grandchild is adopted?
No, adoption ends grandparent visitation rights. If a stepparent adopts the grandchild, the grandparents have visitation rights if the rights were not terminated during the adoption process.
Do grandparents have visitation rights if the grandchild’s parents were not married when he or she was born?
If the parents were not married when the grandchild was born, the paternal grandparents may ask the court for visitation rights.
Do grandparents have visitation rights if the grandchild’s parents are deceased?
If the grandparent’s child is deceased, the court may award grandparents the same visitation rights as a parent without custody.
Kentucky Law for Grandparent Visitation Rights:
Cases involving grandparent visitation rights can be emotionally taxing and difficult to resolve by mediation. As a result, nearly all of these cases go in front of a hearing and a judge. To gain visitation rights for your grandchild, first talk to the child’s parent or parents. If you cannot agree on visitation with the parents, you may ask the court for visitation rights. For a free consultation on your visitation rights case, contact the Bryant Law Center at [email protected].