The legal proceedings of divorce may allow an involved grandparent to guard their relationship with a grandchild.
What can a grandparent do to gain custody or visitation rights?
How a grandparent can gain child custody
The preference for guardianship is the de facto custodian, not necessarily a biological parent. Kentucky Statutes section 403.270 states a person who supports the child financially and proves to be the child’s primary caregiver can claim status as the de facto custodian.
A child under the age of three must have lived with the grandparent for at least six months. A child over three must have dwelled with the grandparent for at least 12 months. A judge may decide for joint custody with biological parents.
How a grandparent might assure visitation
Parents can rear a child as they please, so a child’s custodian could keep the child from grandparents. A grandparent who can prove with clear and convincing evidence that a parent or guardian is not acting in the child’s best interest may gain visitation rights.
A court considers the following factors to determine a child’s best interest:
- the amount of time a child and grandparent spent together;
- the benefits or drawbacks of grandparent visitation;
- the nature of the relationship between child and grandparent;
- how visitation would affect a child’s relationship with parents;
- the child’s wishes; and
- the physical and mental health of the parties involved.
If denied visitation with a grandchild, a reasonable first step is to pursue peace with the parent or guardian and state a desire to stay close to the child. While there are no guarantees about legal steps for recourse, a lawyer can provide accurate advice on a grandparent’s options.
When divorce looms, grandparents can work to stay close to grandchildren. Forethought and careful action can help the process.