Grandparent and Third Party Custody Visitation in Missouri

If you are a grandparent and are seeking custody and visitation rights in Missouri, Missouri:

Missouri child custody law permits grandparent visitation only in limited situations.
There is no guaranteed right for a grandparent to have visitation with a grandchild. The court may grant reasonable visitation rights to grandparents under the following circumstances:

(1)              The parents of the child have filed for dissolution of their marriage. A grandparent shall have the right to intervene in any dissolution action solely on the issue of visitation rights. Grandparents shall also have the right to file a motion to modify the original decree of dissolution to seek visitation rights when visitation has been denied to them; or

(2)              One parent of the child is deceased and the surviving parent denies reasonable visitation to a parent of the deceased parent of the child; or

(3)              The child has resided in the grandparent’s home for at least six months within the twenty-four month period immediately preceding the filing of the petition; and

(4)              A grandparent is unreasonably denied visitation with the child for a period exceeding ninety days.

(5)              The court shall determine if the visitation by the grandparent would be in the child’s best interest or if it would endanger the child’s physical health or impair the child’s emotional development. Visitation may only be ordered when the court finds such visitation to be in the best interests of the child.  …The court may order reasonable conditions or restrictions on grandparent visitation.

(6)              If the court finds it to be in the best interests of the child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child who may participate in the proceedings.

(7)              A home study may be ordered by the court to assist in determining the best interests of the child

(8)              The right of a grandparent to maintain visitation rights may terminate upon the adoption of the child.

If you are a Grandparent who is denied visitation, the court may order mediation upon written request:

In Missouri, upon the written request of a grandparent denied visitation with a grandchild, the court may order mediation with any party who has custody or visitation rights with the minor child and appoint a mediator. Such written request need not follow the rules of civil procedure and need not be written or filed by an attorney.

“Mediation” is the process by which a neutral mediator appointed by the court assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable voluntary and consensual agreement in the best interests of the child as to issues of child care and visitation. The role of the mediator is to aid the parties in identifying the issues, reducing misunderstandings, clarifying priorities, exploring areas of common interest and finding points of agreement. An agreement reached by the parties shall be based on the decisions of the parties and not the decisions of the mediator. The agreement reached may resolve all or only some of the disputed issues.

About the author: Linda O’Marie – Consulting Paralegal, MO

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Posted in Child Custody, Child Visitation, Grandparent rights

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