Grandparent visitation order reversed; loving relationship alone is not enough- Ky Court of Appeals published opinion

Grandpa and Baby

Hamilton v. Duvall

Grandparents filed a petition pursuant to Kentucky’s grandparent visitation statute (KRS 405.021(3)) seeking visitation with the Child of their recently deceased son. Family Court awarded Grandparents visitation with the Child in accordance with the same visitation rights the Father would have been allowed were he still alive. This decision had the effect of depriving the Mother of one-hundred-and-fifty days per year with her Child in favor of the Grandparents’ visitation with the Child. 

Following Troxel v. Granville, 120 S. Ct. 2054 (2000) and Walker v. Blair, 382 S.W.3d 862 (Ky. 2012), the Court of Appeals reversed the Family Court’s decision and held that clear and convincing proof of a loving relationship between grandparents and a child, alone and absent special circumstances, is not enough to overcome the constitutional presumption that a fit parent acts in the child’s best interest regarding the amount of time a child spends with his or her grandparents. In making its decision, the Court of Appeals stated, “No matter how well intended, a grandparent’s petition for visitation beyond a parent’s consent is an attack upon that parent’s superior and fundamental right to make her own determination of her child’s best interest.”

Digested by Emily T. Cecconi

Recent Posts

Kentucky Court of Appeals reverses Allen Family Court, vacates IPO extension based on insufficient written findings to support evidence of stalking by Respondent
March 20, 2023
Kentucky Court of Appeals upholds Jefferson Family Court order requiring Cabinet to pay for parents’ expert fees in DNA case with medical issue at center
February 8, 2023
Kentucky Court of Appeals affirms Simpson Family Court’s decision to allow third party intervention based on fraud which prevented him from being heard prior to motion to intervene
February 8, 2023