Attorneys Who Fight Hard for Their ClientsAt Stange Law Firm, PC, we fight hard for our clients. Many of our clients are grandparents who seek child custody or visitation in special circumstances, like when a parent is incapable of properly caring for a child due to alcoholism, addiction, mental illness, or family violence. These grandparents may be entitled to increased custody or visitation. Missouri law supports contact between grandparents and their grandchildren in certain situations, like the ones listed below:
- When the parents of the child have filed for divorce, grandparents have the right to intervene solely on the issue of visitation rights. Grandparents also have the right to file a motion to modify the original divorce decree to seek visitation rights.
- When one parent of the child is deceased and the surviving parent denies the grandparent reasonable visitation rights, grandparents may take legal action.
- When the child has resided in the grandparent’s home for at least six months within the 24-month period immediately before the filing of the petition for grandparent rights, grandparents can file a lawsuit to protect their relationships with the children involved.
- When the grandparent has been unreasonably denied visitation with the child for more than 90 days, (unless the natural parents are legally married to each other and are living together with the child) the grandparent may file for visitation.
- When the child is adopted by a stepparent, another grandparent, or another blood relative, grandparents can file lawsuits to protect their rights.
Determining Grandparents’ Right to VisitationDetermining whether or not grandparents are entitled to visitation can be complex. The court sometimes requires a home study performed by a court-appointed investigator. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem to help determine the best interests of the child. It may also consult with the child regarding the child’s wishes. Stange Law Firm, PC understands exactly what the court looks for in grandparents’ rights situations. She can help guide you through the process and help you achieve the best possible results in these matters.
Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma,Nebraska, and Indiana Laws on Grandparent VisitationIn Missouri, the statute affecting grandparents’ rights is § 452.402 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. It outlines the law on when grandparents’ visitation rights can be granted or terminated. It also grants the court discretion to have the losing party pay the winning party’s attorney’s fees. In Illinois, a court can grant visitation to a grandparent if visitation is in the best interests of the child and the grandparent has been unreasonably denied visitation to the child. However, a court may not grant grandparent visitation where both parents object. In Kansas, a court may award visitation rights in a custody order. However, adoption cuts off visitation rights unless the grandparent is the parent of a deceased parent and the surviving parent’s spouse adopts the child. Oklahoma law allows the court to grant grandparents visitation rights under certain circumstances. The court must find that all of the following criteria are met:
- the child does not live in an intact nuclear family,
- ordering visitation would be in the best interest of the child, and,
- the parents are unfit OR the child would suffer harm or potential harm if the visitation rights are not granted.
- there is or has been, a significant beneficial relationship between the grandparent and the child,
- it is in the best interests of the child that such a relationship continue,
- such visitation will not adversely interfere with the parent-child relationship.