Grandparents’ Rights and Visitation
Kentucky Family Law Court will recognize custody and visitation rights of grandparents, although such rights are not guaranteed. Yet 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 responding to a Supreme Court ruling against grandparents’ rights, Kentucky has not declared grandparent visitation rights unconstitutional. Rather, the Kentucky Court of Appeals heightened the level of scrutiny courts should give to these types of cases by reiterating 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.
Grandparent visitation cases can often be very emotionally charged, and thus, difficult to resolve by mediation. Therefore, these cases almost always go to a hearing and are left for the judge to decide. As the judge cannot know all the nuances of family dynamics and is ruling based only on documented evidence before him or her, it is recommended that a person seeking to gain or suppress grandparent visitation obtain legal counsel.
When you have questions, Goldberg Simpson has answers. Please see the FAQs below.
- Post-Divorce FAQ under Kentucky Family Law
- Families In Transition FAQ