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Grandparents Rights in Missouri – Can Grandparents Sue for Visitation Rights?
Grandparents in America are allowed the right to visit their grandchild unless a court expressly forbids them to do so. Occasionally, they can be granted full custody of the child if the parents are incapable of keeping their obligations.
Even in cases where the grandparents are the principal caretakers of their grandchildren, rights to custody and visitation have been restricted in several states. Limited access to grandchildren is also given to grandparents if their divorced child is denied primary physical custody of the grandchildren, particularly when the custodial parent refuses to allow visitation.
A St. Charles Family Law Attorney can help you understand your rights.
Grandparent Visitation Rights in Missouri
In Missouri law, grandparents can sue for visitation rights but are subject to certain conditions. The laws that govern how and when grandparents can be granted custody or visitation are called Grandparents’ Rights. The main purpose of these rights is to ensure that the child receives the psychological benefits of having a grandparent.
The visitation rights of grandparents are covered in the Revised Statutes of Missouri 452.402 and 452.403, which the Missouri Supreme Court upholds as constitutional.
In Missouri, grandparents can legally request reasonable visitation provided it is within normal limits and does not intrude too much on the family. Only biological grandparents are extended this right and maybe applied if:
- The child’s parents are married and file for legal separation or divorce in Missouri
- one parent dies and the surviving parent turns down visitation rights
- The child’s parents are unwed and the grandparent is denied reasonable visitation for over 90 days.
- If the child lived with their grandparents for at least 6 months prior to filing a petition for visitation rights.
- If the child was adopted by a step-parent or another blood relative
What Must Grandparents Prove in Court?
Grandparents suing for visitation rights carry the burden of proof and must provide adequate evidence showing the requested visits are in the best interest of the child, regarding their welfare and safety. If the child’s parents oppose these visits, the court will consider this and diligently study if being with their grandparents will be in the child’s best interest.
If they win over this presumption, grandparents must be able to show that regular interaction with them serves the child’s best interests based upon any applicable evidence, which includes:
- The child’s age
- The visitations’ effect on the child’s physical or mental health
- The physical and psychological condition, and criminal history of the parties involved
- The level of relationship existing between the grandparent and grandchild
The court may consider the child’s wishes and assign an evaluator to carefully determine each parent’s and/or grandparent’s disposition and capability to meet the child’s needs, health concerns, and day-by-day schedules.
The court may adopt the proposed visitation schedule after determining it serves the child’s best interest. However, it can also impose reasonable limitations in the final order.
Contact a Missouri Grandparents Rights Lawyer at Shea Kohl Law
We at Shea Kohl Law understand that grandparents play an essential role in a child’s life, and the bond linking them must be protected. If you find the need to fight for your right to visit with or acquire custody of your grandchildren, we are here to help.
To determine if you have the right to sue for visitation rights, call us today at (636) 946-9999 or email us for a private consultation.
Call Shea Kohl Law, LC at (636) 946-9999
or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation.
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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.