Kentucky Grandparents Rights and Visitation Guidelines
Kentucky recognizes custody and visitation rights of grandparents. However, such rights are not guaranteed. A Court may grant reasonable visitation rights to a grandparent if the grandparent can prove by clear and convincing evidence that visitation is in the child’s best interests – particularly if grandparents were involved in the support and care of their grandchild or in situations of neglect or abuse of the grandchild at the hands of the parents.
Unlike many other states, Kentucky has not declared grandparent visitation rights unconstitutional. Rather, the Kentucky Court of Appeals reiterated that” fit parents are presumed to make decisions that are in the best interests of their child and that, in order to overcome this presumption, the grandparent must meet their evidentiary burden, which is the “clear and convincing” standard, and clearly establish that visitation is in the child’s best interests.”
In October of 2012, the Kentucky Supreme Court made it harder for grandparents to win visitation with their grandchildren when the child’s parents object. In a 6-1 ruling, the state’s high court ruled that parents who oppose giving a grandparent visitation must be presumed to be acting in the child’s best interests. The court did not strike down Kentucky’s 1984 grandparent visitation law but said a grandparent must present “clear and convincing” evidence to win the right to visit a grandchild over a parent’s objection. “Kentucky courts cannot presume that grandparents and grandchildren will always benefit from contact with each other,” the court ruled. “If the only proof that a grandparent can present is that they spent time with the child and attended holidays and special occasions, this alone cannot overcome the presumption that the parent is acting in the child’s best interest.” …
Further, the court said grandparents may win court-ordered visitation if they can show that the child would be harmed by denying it or where the grandparent and child lived in the same household for some time or the grandparent regularly baby sat the child. The court directed judges to consider eight factors, including the nature and stability of the relationship between the child and the grandparent; the amount of time they had spent together; the effect that granting visitation would have on the child’s relationship with the parents; and the wishes and preferences of the child.
KENTUCKY RESOURCE INFORMATION
Note: The foregoing information is provided as general family law guidelines in the state of Kentucky and should not be considered as legal advice specific to your case. After reviewing the above material, you will be presented with the opportunity to submit more details specific to your case directly to About The Children.
Submitted by Linda O’Marie, Paralegal
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