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What Missouri residents need to know about grandparents rights

Over the years studies have shown that grandparents not only bond with their grandchildren, but that the relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild can help with a child's upbringing. With this in mind, states have various statutes in place to see that a grandparent's visitation rights are met.

Visitation rights of a child's grandparents vary widely by state. And, even for states that share similar statutes, the court's decision may be different, depending on a number of factors. Like all considerations, the court's primary objective and goal is to keep the best interests of the child in mind in all their decisions. This is applicable to both parental custody and visitation rights, as well as visitation rights of grandparents.

In Missouri, a court may grant visitation rights after one of a few conditions are met, including parents filing for divorce, the death of one parent and the unwillingness of the other parent to reasonably allow the grandchild to meet with grandparents, or if one or both parents unreasonably denies visitation to a grandparent or grandparents for a length of more than 90 days. In the case of adoption, however, a grandparent does not have visitation rights unless the adopted parents include a stepparent, another grandparent or a blood relative.

The role a grandparent may play in a child's life can be intangible. A certain bond may form for families who are close with the grandparent, and this bond may lead to a lifelong relationship. With that in mind, it is important to protect a grandparent's rights and to make certain a visitation order is followed when dealing with a grandparent's relationship with a grandchild.

Source: findlaw.com, "Summaries of State Law: Grandparent Visitation and Custody," Accessed on Jan. 19, 2016

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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