Most grandparents have a traditional role in the lives of their grandchildren. They see them occasionally and on holidays, and their relationship is an extension of a healthy relationship with the child’s parents. When the relationship between grandparent and parent is poor, the relationship with any grandchildren is sure to suffer. Every grandparent has a finite amount of time to build lasting memories with their grandchildren before old age or illness can cut this precious time short. While all 50 states address grandparents’ rights, they do not all provide the same access. If you have been denied access to your grandchildren, it’s important to understand your rights and what options are available to you.
Requesting Visitation Rights as a Grandparent
Kentucky law allows grandparents to request visitation with their grandchildren at any time. The court will consider the best interest of the child or children and make a decision. Laws protecting grandparents’ rights in Kentucky have been in place for close to three decades. While the case law surrounding the issue has changed how the law is implemented in some cases, Kentucky is generally viewed as a favorable state for grandparents’ rights. With that said, the court is very serious about maintaining normalcy for children and doing what is in their best interest. Grandparents will need to prove or establish a case for their request for visitation. So, it’s important to know what will be considered in your case.
The factors the court considers when determining visitation include:
- the existing relationship you share with the child
- the pros and cons to the child if the grandparents are granted visitation
- how visitation will impact the parent/child relationship if grandparents are granted visitation
- the long-term impact of everyone’s physical and mental health
- the will of the child in question
The court will review these factors before giving visitation to grandparents. While it may complicate the issues, even if a grandparent’s child loses custody or has no parental rights to a child, Kentucky law doesn’t automatically terminate a grandparent’s right to the children.
How do I Start the Process?
If you’re considering petitioning the court for visitation of your grandchildren, then you may need to start by discussing your case with legal representation. A family lawyer can help you file your petition in the district court in the county your grandchildren reside. You can also use the same process to seek modifications to an existing visitation order. If a grandparent wants visitation, they must initiate the process and work within the system to secure visitation rights to your grandchildren. The legal petitioning of visitation rights can be a very difficult process for you and your family. Ideally, the best course of action would be to work within the family to resolve visitation issues.
If you are interested in exercising your rights as a Grandparent in Kentucky, call Attorney Winner at (502) 812-1889 to schedule a consultation.