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Kentucky grandparents’ rights and reasonable visitation

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Family Law |

When child custody and visitation issues arise, it is most often between parents. While this is commonplace during a divorce or split, parents are not the only individuals with an interest in spending time with the children involved.

It is not uncommon for grandparents to establish a close and consistent bond with their grandchildren. When a messy divorce, paternity action or the like ensues, a grandparent may fear that their relationship with their grandchildren are at risk.

This is where grandparents’ rights can come into play, making it important that they consider the steps or actions they could take to protect their relationship with their grandchildren.

Kentucky grandparents’ rights

According to Kentucky law, reasonable visitation rights may be granted to the maternal or paternal grandparents if it determines it to be in the best interests of the child. When a court awards visitation rights to a grandparent, these rights are not adversely affected in the event that their son or daughter terminates their parental rights unless it is determined to be in the best interests of the child.

Significant and viable relationship

Kentucky law presume that visitation with a grandparent is in the best interests of the child in the event that the parent who was the child of the grandparent is deceased. In these matters, the court relies on the proof that there is a strong, pre-existing relationship between the child and grandparent.

By the preponderance of the evidence, the grandparent must illustrate one of four situations:

  • The child resided with them for at least six months with or without the current custodial parent.
  • The grandparent was the caregiver of the child on a regular basis for at least six consecutive months.
  • The grandparent had frequent or regular contact with the child for at least 12 consecutive months.
  • There are other facts that establish that the loss of the grandparent-grandchild relationship would likely harm the child.

Child custody matters can get messy, and the grandparents involved often feel torn and impacted throughout the process. Their time and relationship with their grandchild can feel at risk, resulting in them seeking to exercise their rights to secure visitation under the state’s grandparents’ rights.