The relationship you have with your grandchildren is one of the most valuable and important in your life. You have watched them grow since they were born, and you have invested your heart and time into supporting and loving them. However, a change in the relationship you have with the parents or other circumstances, such as a divorce, can affect how often you get to see your grandchildren.
While courts give preference to the opinions and needs of the biological parents, there are times when they may grant grandparents visitation or custody. If you feel like you have valid grounds to fight for access to your grandchildren, you may find it helpful to understand what the courts look at in these situations. This can provide you with an understanding of what to expect as you navigate this complex issue.
What affects your case?
Getting custody or visitation rights is not easy if you are not a biological parent. Even if you love your grandchildren and used to see them often, the court may not see that as a valid reason to go against the wishes of the parents. However, Kentucky family courts do recognize that there are times when it is detrimental to deprive children of important relationships. When considering this complex custody or visitation, the court will look at the following:
- The wishes of the parents and the wishes of the grandparents
- What the children want if they are old enough to express it
- How far away the grandparents live from their grandchildren
- The nature and strength of the relationship between the grandchildren and grandparents
- Evidence of abuse or neglect by the parents or grandparents
- How a child is adjusting to new life circumstances
- Evidence of substance abuse by parents or grandparents
The ultimate goal of any family law court is to protect the best interests of the child. It will be necessary to present a strong case if you want to secure permission to see your grandchildren or potentially even obtain custody rights.
The complex issue of custody
Custody rights cases are complicated, and they can take a long time to resolve. If you want to pursue custody or visitation rights of your grandchildren, you will find it beneficial to work with an experienced family law attorney from the onset of this process. You do not have to navigate this process alone.