It takes a village to raise a child.
Most people are well aware of the importance of community within a young child’s life. Though the child’s parents should be the impost important people in her life, her childhood will be enriched by her relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, stepparents, friends, and other adult mentors. Unfortunately, access to these secondary relationships may not always be easy.
Grandparents Legal Rights In Missouri
The important role grandparents play in a child’s life is almost universally acknowledged. Most grandparents are eager to spend time with their grandchildren, and the desire for this shared time is often reciprocated by the children.
However, there are certain situations wherein the parent(s) may intervene and limit the amount of time a child spends with her grandparents. If the parent(s) makes this decision based on concern for the child’s health, safety, or general wellbeing, there is likely little opportunity for recourse for the grandparents. On the other hand, if the grandparents can prove that spending time with their grandchild would be in the child’s best interests, they may be able to obtain official visitation rights from the court.
When Grandparents May Request Visitation Rights
In general, it is up to each individual family to decide how much time grandparents will spend with their grandchildren. Grandparents may petition the court for official visitation rights in the following circumstances:
- One of the child’s parents has passed away, and the surviving parent denies the decedent’s parents access to their grandchildren.
- The child’s parents are getting divorced, and the grandparents wish to incorporate their own visitation rights into the divorce agreement.
- The child lived with her grandparents for a minimum of six months. (In these situations, the petition must be filed within two years of the child leaving the grandparents’ residence.)
- The grandparents have been denied any opportunity to see their grandchild for at least 90 days.