Have you been denied contact with your grandchild due to divorce?
Have you suffered the loss of your own son or daughter only to be denied visitation with your grandchildren by the surviving spouse?
Were you your grandchild’s primary caregiver and are now being denied visitation?
There are many reasons why the grandparent-grandchild relationship may be interrupted – divorce, the death of a loved one, family disputes, chronic illness, addiction – the list goes on and on. Grandparents often develop strong bonds with their grandchildren only to have that relationship overlooked when something happens to break up the family. If you cherish your relationship with your grandchild, you need to know what rights you can exercise to continue that relationship.
Under Missouri statues, the courts may grant reasonable visitation rights to grandparents under certain conditions. If your adult child is getting divorced, you have the right to intervene in the divorce or file a motion to modify after the divorce solely on the issue of visitation rights. If your grandchild isn’t living with your adult son or daughter who is their natural parent, and you are being denied visitation, the court may grant grandparent visitation rights.
The Best Interests of the Child
The court will only order grandparent visitation when it determines that it is in the best interests of the child to do so. If the child’s parents are legally married and living together with the child, there is a presumption that the parents know what is in the child’s best interests and conditions or restrictions may be applied to the grandparent’s visitation.
In making the determination of what is in the child’s best interests, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem is a licensed attorney who participates in the proceedings and acts as an advocate for the child. The guardian ad litem’s input will be weighed by the court in it’s decision regarding grandparent visitation. The court may also order a home study and consult with the child regarding his or her wishes.
If you are being denied reasonable visitation with your grandchild, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how you can petition the court to maintain or restore visitation with your grandchild.