Kentucky is one of the few states that allows grandparents to sue for visitation if the grandchild lives in an intact family. A court may award a grandparent the same visitation rights as a parent without custody if the grandparent’s child is deceased and the grandparent has provided child support to the grandchild. In all cases, courts examine the best interests of the children. Divorce and separation cause trauma for all family members. With a break up, the level of influence of family members on either side is jeopardized. Especially extended family including grandparents. What are the rights of grandparents involved in the lives of their grandchildren after divorce or separation, as well as the extent to which their rights are enforceable by law if denied by either parent?
The circuit court may grant reasonable visitation rights to either the paternal or maternal grandparents of a child and issue any necessary orders to enforce the decree if it determines that it is in the best interest of the child to do so: KRS 405.021 Reasonable visitation rights to grandparents. The grandparent asking for court-ordered time has the “burden of proof” (the duty to provide sufficient evidence) to show that visitation is in a child’s best interest. Kentucky courts automatically presume parents act in their child’s best interests and give special weight to their preferences regarding their child’s care. If your grandchild’s parent(s) object to grandparent visitation, you must overcome this “presumption” (legal assumption) by showing that spending time with you serves the child’s best interests. If the court determines grandparents’ future involvement to be in any way harmful to the child’s well being, visitation rights may be denied. Grandparents are entitled to appeal the decision.
Unmarried Fathers and Grandparents’ Rights
If unwed fathers do not legally establish fatherhood by filling out a voluntary declaration of paternity, performing a paternity test, or signing the child’s birth certificate when they are born, they do not have any parental rights. Without one of these facts when the unwed father splits from his child’s mother with his legal paternity unconfirmed, he is not assumed to be the father. Therefore he will not be granted parental rights or given any kind of child custody. In such cases, the same is true for paternal grandparents. If there are no parental rights for the father, there are no rights for paternal grandparents.
What Can Grandparents Do When Barred From Spending Time With Grandchildren?
When grandparents are denied contact with their grandchildren it can be heartbreaking for the grandparents and grandchildren alike. Although suing for visitation rights is a possibility, the most productive approach is resolving family disputes. Maybe mediation could provide an opportunity for resolution. If mediation fails, you can still have legal recourse. Contact a family attorney who understands family issues tend to be personally painful and that legal battles are to be avoided whenever possible. So get some legal advice to solve your visitation problems.
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About Grubbs & Landry
At Grubbs & Landry, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal and friendly service. We manage our practice in an ethical, cost-effective manner to best help our clients resolve their legal issues with the least expense possible. We pride ourselves in advocating for our client in divorce, child custody, and child support matters as well as other family law matters. We are active in prosecuting personal injury cases-recovering for the injuries our clients sustain due to the negligence of others. Additionally, we help our clients prepare for the future through the preparation of Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Will.
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