There are times when a court will grant grandparents visitation if it is in the best interest of the child.
If you are going through a divorce in Missouri and are wondering what types of rights your in-laws might have for visitation with your children, there are specific custody laws related to third-party or familial rights. Whether or not they have those rights typically depends on the role they have previously played in the child’s life.
How does Missouri determine third-party visitation rights?
Courts in Missouri typically defer to the biological parent to determine which third-party individuals may have access to their children. The courts assume that the biological parents act in the best interest of the child, which means if they are either denying or allowing visitation with their child, they are doing so for the child’s good. When going through a divorce, it is still the parents’ choice to agree on who should see the children and who should not.
Grandparents’ Custodial Rights in Divorce Cases
Missouri courts may grant grandparents visitation rights, but only under limited circumstances. When a couple files for divorce, the grandparents must file a motion to gain access and visitation, but this can be granted only if no divorce decree has been ordered yet. If there has been a decree then the grandparents are denied visitation rights, or they have to go back and ask if the decree can be modified to include grandparent visitation.
Another reason for a grandparent to request visitation is if one parent is deceased and the remaining parent is being unreasonable about granting visitation to the parents of the deceased party.
Another circumstance where grandparents are awarded visitation is if the child lived with the grandparents for at least six months within the mandatory two-year filing of the petition.
The last instance is that the grandparents may request visitation be granted if they have been denied access to the children for more than 90 days. But if the parents are still married and it is not a matter of divorce and custody, then the grandparents would not be granted visitation rights.
Best Interests of the Child
There are times when a court will grant grandparents visitation if it is in the best interest of the child. In some cases, one parent might be keeping the child from the grandparents as a means of retaliation in a divorce. If the court feels as if the child would be better off either not seeing the grandparents for a specific reason, or being allowed to visit with the grandparents, they can make that determination based on what is best for the child.
In general, grandparents do not have visitation rights in divorce proceedings unless the courts feel the need to intervene. If you are getting divorced and feel as if it is in the best interest of your child not to have visitation with their grandparents even though they are petitioning, then it is best to let your St. Louis divorce attorney handle the logistics to make sure that your child is protected.
St. Louis Divorce Attorneys at Work
Hundreds of questions come to mind as the stark reality of divorce settles in. As a firm, our goal is to help you find the answers to those questions and to begin the next phase of your life with as much ease as possible. We are dedicated to providing our clients and their families with kind, personalized, and professional legal representation throughout the entire divorce process.
Contact The Betz Law Firm today for a free 30-minute phone consultation by calling (314) 801-8488 or by filling out our online contact form.