Various types of circumstances may lead a grandparent to desire to have visitation of their grandchildren. This generally occurs when parents get divorced, and the grandparents were told they could no longer see their grandchild. The law in Kansas allows grandparents to petition the court asking for visitation rights of their grandchildren. Although grandparents have a right to ask for visitation, the court will grant visitation based on a balance of the parents’ wishes and their objections as well. Overall, the court centers its discretionary opinions based on facilitating what is in the best interest of the child. As a grandparent, it is important to understand the legal process in Kansas to prepare yourself adequately.
When Can a Grandparent Petition for Visitation
Although circumstances involving a grandparent who is denied his or her visitation rights often occurs after a divorce has taken place, it may also arise if one of the child’s biological parents has died. The surviving parent does not wish for the child to see his or her in-laws. This situation may allow for the child’s grandparents to seek visitation of their grandchild. However, if the deceased parents’ rights were terminated prior the grandparents may no longer have a right to ask for visitation time with their grandchild. In general, if a parent’s rights have been terminated, the grandparents’ rights of that parent have also been distinguished simultaneously.
Legal Process for Grandparent Visitation
A grandparent who wishes to maintain or regain visitation time with their grandchild, and feels they have the legal right to do so, can petition the court in their county to begin the process. If you have previously obtained an order affording you visitation rights, however, it is not being abided by, you can file an enforcement order. An enforcement order may force or compel the parent who is not cooperating with the order to respect the legal rights it affords you through the legal system.
The court will most likely set a hearing to hear all of the relevant evidence and testimony. There, the judge will weigh a variety of factors before granting a grandparent visitation rights. Some of these factors include the relationship the grandparents had with the child and the length of time and substance of the relationship. They will also evaluate whether or not further visitation is in the best interest of the child. This may include what type of living environment the grandparents’ home offers, the type of relationship the grandparents have with the child’s parents, the mental and physical health of the grandparents and their ability to care for the grandchild and the child’s wishes, if they are old enough to offer an opinion.
Contact a Kansas Attorney to Answer All of Your Grandparent Visitation Questions Today
With over 40 years of family law experience in Kansas, Attorney Tom McDowell has helped many families reach agreements and find the solutions they need. Call Kansas Family Law Attorney Tom McDowell at McDowell Chartered Legal Services today at (316) 633-4322 to properly file for adoption.