An emerging part of family law addresses the rights of grandparents and other third parties (such as family members, i.e. uncles and aunts) in child custody and visitation cases. It also involves parents defending their ultimate right to custody against other family members who are involved in a family court dispute.
The attorneys at Goldberg Simpson offer strategic and experienced advocacy in this area, having represented both sides of the family seeking or defending against custody or visitation rights. These cases routinely involve custodial evaluators, guardian ad litem (GAL), and other experts that can help a family court judge what is in a child’s best interests.
What Are Grandparents Rights?
Grandparents rights involve grandparents asserting legal claims to custody or visitation to a grandchild. Grandparents may become involved if they are prevented from seeing their grandchildren or if they feel that a child’s well-being is threatened by neglect, abuse, or drug or alcohol addiction. Many grandparents will pursue a case where a family dispute causes a parent to prevent the grandparent from seeing a grandchild.
The basis for grandparent visitation rights in Kentucky is KRS 405.021. That law provides for reasonable visitation rights to either the maternal or paternal grandmother(s) and/or grandfather(s) of a child if the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child to do so. This case must be filed in the local family court where the child resides (or circuit court if the child’s home county does not have a family court).
Once a grandparent has been granted visitation rights under Kentucky law, those rights are not affected by the termination of parental rights belonging to the grandparent’s son or daughter (who is the father or mother of the child visited by the grandparent) unless the family court judge determines that it is in the best interest of the child to do so.
It is also possible for a grandparent to receive noncustodial parental visitation rights if the parent of the child who is the son or daughter of the grandparent is deceased and the grandparent has assumed the financial obligation of child support owed by the deceased parent, unless the family court determines that the visitation is not in the best interest of the child. If visitation is not granted, then the grandparent has no obligation to pay child support for the grandchild.
Can I Get Visitation To See My Grandchild?
In Kentucky, visitation may be granted to grandparents if the court determines that it is in the child’s best interests. We will work with necessary professionals, interview witnesses and present all evidence needed to support your case to see your grandchildren. We will demonstrate to the court that it is in the best interests of the child to have contact and visitation with grandparents.
Can I Get Custody Of My Grandchild? What Is De Facto Custody?
A grandparent who has been a primary caretaker of a child for a certain period of time (usually dependent on the age of the child and whether the grandparent or family member has been the primary caregiver and financial supporter) may be able to obtain the same rights as a regular parent. In other child custody and grandparents’ rights cases, the court will consider the wishes of parents and children, the relationship between the child and parents, the child’s adjustment to their home, school and community and the mental and physical condition of all persons involved. If you are seeking visitation or custody rights or you want to defend against the right of an intervening grandparent, please contact our office for an immediate consultation.