Grandparents often play a major role in the lives of their grandchildren. Grandparents can provide love, support, and guidance as their grandchildren grow and develop. However, in some cases, the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren can become strained, and the grandparents may be denied access to their grandchildren. If you are a grandparent in Missouri who is facing this situation, it is essential to know that you may have legal rights to maintain a relationship with your grandchildren. It is essential to be aware of the grandparents rights for visitation and custody in Missouri.
- It is important to note that grandparents do not have an automatic right to grandchild visitation.
- Grandparents must proactively seek intervention, and they bear the burden of proving that it is in the grandchild’s best interests for the court to grant them visitation rights.
- Grandparents being denied visitation should consider keeping a detailed record of the exact time, date, place, and manner in which visitation was denied and any stated reasons for the denial of visitation. This information can be crucial later on to help get visitation with their grandchildren.
Under Missouri law, biological grandparents can petition the court for visitation rights if they have been unreasonably denied reasonable visitation with their grandchildren for over 90 days. If a parent or guardian is preventing a grandparent from seeing their grandchildren without a valid reason, the grandparent can ask the court to intervene. A court may grant reasonable visitation rights to grandparents in several situations, including the following:
- When the child’s parents file for a legal separation or divorce.
- After a divorce has been finalized and visitation has been denied to the grandparents.
- The child’s parents are unmarried, and the grandparent has been unreasonably denied visitation for more than 90 days.
- When one parent is deceased and the surviving parent has denied visitation to the grandparents.
To establish visitation rights in Missouri, grandparents must file a petition in the county’s circuit court where the child lives. The petition should include:
- A statement explaining why the grandparent is seeking visitation.
- Information about the grandparent’s relationship with the child.
- The reasons for the denial of visitation.
Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether visitation is in the child’s best interests. In making this determination, the court may consider a number of factors, including:
- The wishes of the child’s parents or guardians.
- The grandparent’s relationship with the child.
- The child’s preference, if the child is old enough to express a preference.
- A home study is to ensure that there are adequate accommodations for the children.
If the court determines that visitation is in the best interests of the child, it will issue an order establishing the grandparent’s visitation rights. The order will specify the schedule and duration of visitation and any other conditions the court deems necessary to protect the child’s best interests. Navigating this legal process can be challenging, so it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney if you are considering filing a petition for visitation rights.
Grandparent Rights Involving Custody
In addition to visitation rights, grandparents in Missouri may also have the right to seek custody of their grandchildren if both of the child’s parents are unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable home environment. To establish custody rights:
- Grandparents must file a petition in court.
- Demonstrating that they have a strong relationship with the child is beneficial.
- Show they can provide a safe and stable home environment.
- Prove that it is in the child’s best interests to live with the grandparent.
Grandparents in Missouri have legal options regarding their grandchildren. Whether seeking visitation or custody rights, working with an experienced family law attorney who can help navigate the legal process and protect your rights as a grandparent is crucial. With the right legal representation and a strong case, you may be able to establish a meaningful and lasting relationship with your grandchildren.
An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help
The attorneys at Lecour Family Law can help you navigate complex and stressful family legal issues, including divorce, child custody, child support, and grandparents’ rights. Call us today at 636-685-0440 to schedule a consultation. We pride ourselves on offering family legal services tailored to your specific needs.
Lecour Family Law is located at 1270 Jungermann Road in St. Peters, Missouri. We serve clients throughout St. Charles, O’Fallon, Troy, Warrenton, and St. Louis.