Grandparents must show benefit for child to gain visitation

The first visual that comes to mind when one thinks of a family is a married couple, children, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. One expects family members to associate with each other at family unions and expects grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren. However, when this image of a happy family is often altered because of divorce, and some grandparents are left wondering what their relationship with their grandparents will be like in the future.

Some states have made it harder for grandparents' visitation when parent of the child takes objection. One state court recently wrote that it cannot automatically presume that grandparents' visitation with the child with be beneficial for the child. The court also stated that, even if the grandparent has spent time with the child during holidays and other occasions, it is not enough to overcome the presumption that the parent is acting in the best interest of the child.

Every state varies on grandparents' visitation. In Florida, courts may grant grandparents' visitation if it is in the best interest of the child, if the marriage of the parents is dissolved, if the parents have deserted the child or the child was born out of wedlock. However, if the parent is considered to be a fit parent and is working in the best interest of the child, it is a heavy burden on grandparents to get visitation rights.

Grandparents have the burden of showing that their association with their grandchild would be of high benefit to the child. Nevertheless, parents should consider allowing grandparents to see their children and draft a visitation plan which includes a grandparents' visitation schedule.

Source: Courier Journal, "Kentucky Supreme Court weakens grandparents' right to see grandchildren" Oct. 26, 2012

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