In some cases, grandparents may find themselves in a situation where they are unable to see their grandchild for an extended period of time. When this happens, they have the right to petition a St. Louis family court for visitation rights. If you’re facing this unfortunate circumstance, a St. Louis grandparents’ rights attorney from Garrity Traina can assist you in exercising your rights under the law. Our experienced legal advocates specialize in helping grandparents pursue visitation rights, whether the child’s parents are divorced, were never married, or if one of the parents has passed away. Depending on the circumstances, it may also be appropriate to file a case for Third Party custody, or even seek both grandparents’ and Third Party custody rights.
Knowing When to Petition for Visitation Rights
Ideally, the relationship between grandparents and their grandchild’s parents should be strong, and visitation should happen voluntarily. However, there are situations where the relationship becomes strained. Regardless of the nature of the relationship, grandparents have the right to see their grandchildren under specific circumstances.
First and foremost, a grandparent who wishes to petition for visitation rights must demonstrate that they have not seen the child for at least 60 days. Additionally, according to Missouri Revised Statutes §452.402, a grandparent’s petition for custody is only valid if:
- The child’s parents have filed a petition for divorce or annulment.
- One parent is deceased, and the surviving parent is denying reasonable visitation.
- The child has resided with the grandparent for at least six months within the last two years.
Evaluating whether a claim meets these strict criteria requires the expertise of a St. Louis grandparents’ custody rights attorney, who can provide a thorough assessment of your case.
Establishing the Necessary Elements
When a grandparent files a petition for visitation, they are responsible for proving their claims in a St. Louis family court. This means they must convince a judge that it would be in the best interests of the child to have visitation with their grandparents.
The court exercises great discretion when determining whether visitation is in the child’s best interests. In some cases, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests in court. Furthermore, a judge may order a home study to ascertain if the grandparent’s household is suitable for the child, or even ask the child for their opinion on visiting their grandparent.
Ultimately, it is the grandparent’s responsibility to prove their qualifications for receiving visitation rights. By working with a St. Louis grandparent’s rights lawyer, you can present a convincing case to the courts, demonstrating your fitness for custody and convincing them that visitation would be in the child’s best interests.
Secure Your Grandparent Rights with the Help of a St. Louis Attorney
Divorce, a death in the family, or parental animosity can all create barriers between grandparents and their grandchildren. However, state law recognizes grandparents’ rights to visit with their grandchild even over a parent’s objection. Nevertheless, the burden lies on the grandparent to prove that they are fit to spend time with the child in their own home and that visitation is in the child’s best interests.
At Garrity Traina, our St. Louis grandparents’ rights attorneys have the expertise to help you navigate the legal process. We can assist you in proving your qualifications for visitation under the law and demonstrate how visitation would contribute to the child’s well-being. If you want to learn more about your options, don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our team today.