When people think about visitation rights, most people think that only parents have that right. However, under Missouri law, grandparents can be granted visitation rights but are subject to certain conditions. In fact, Missouri has a statute that covers this exact right! Revised Statutes of Missouri 452.402 and 452.403 explain when a grandparent’s visitation rights can be granted.
Grandparents’ visitation rights may be granted if:
- The child’s parents were married and have filed for legal separation or divorce in Missouri.
- The child’s parents were not married, and the grandparent has been denied reasonable visitation for 90 days.
- One of the child’s parents dies and the other parent denies reasonable visitation rights.
- If the child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months within the two years before the grandparent files a petition for visitation rights.
Just like with any other decision the Court makes regarding children, the Court is going to determine what is in the child’s best interest. The Court will determine if allowing visitation by the grandparent would be in the child’s best interest or if there is a chance that it would endanger the child’s emotional development or physical health. If a grandparent is seeking visitation with a grandchild whose parents are still legally married to each other and still living together with the child, the Court may presume that the parents know what is in the best interest of their child when it comes to visitation.
If the Court decides that granting grandparent visitation rights is in the best interest of the child there are a few things the Court may require including a Guardian Ad Litem, a home study, or a chance to consult with the grandchild.
If you are a grandparent and believe that grandparent rights are necessary for you, please reach out to Pingel Family Law today. Sometimes, our representation involves alternative dispute resolution such as communication or seeking mediation, and in other situations, it involves court involvement/interaction. Call Pingel Family Law today at (816) 208-8130 to schedule your consultation.