Understand Your Rights as a Grandparent

The second Sunday in September is National Grandparents’ Day. We know you love your grandchildren, and it’s important to know what legal rights you have as a grandparent. Exactly what those rights entail vary based on your situation, and it varies from state to state. Missouri has its own regulations regarding grandparents visitation and even legal guardianship.

Visitation Rights in Missouri

The court may grant reasonable visitation rights to grandparents for the following reasons and in the following situations:

  • If the child’s parents have filed for divorce, a grandparent has the right to intervene only on visitation rights issues.
  • If one of the child’s parents is deceased, the surviving parent denies reasonable visitation rights to one of the surviving grandparents.
  • If a grandparent is unreasonably denied child visitation for longer than 90 days. (If the child’s biological parents are married and living together with the child, the grandparent may not file for visitation.)

In all of these situations, the court determines what the child’s best interests are. If grandparent visitation would endanger the child in any way, visitation rights may not be granted. If the child’s parents are legally married and live with the child, the parents are presumed to know the child’s best interests and to act accordingly.

Guardianship Ad Litem

If the court determines that it’s in the best interest of the child, it will appoint a guardian ad litem, who is a licensed attorney in Missouri. The guardian ad litem may participate in proceedings as if he or she were a party. The court will enter judgment allowing a reasonable fee to the guardian ad litem.

If the child is adopted, any visitation rights the grandparent has may be terminated.

Grandparent DNA Testing at Test Smartly Labs

If there is any question about biological grandparentage, Test Smartly Labs can help. Our test results are court-admissible because we follow a strict chain of custody procedure.

Test Smartly Labs provides confidential and accurate DNA tests. To learn more about our DNA Testing Services, contact Test Smartly Labs today at (816) 800-9699. We have five lab locations in the greater Kansas City area!

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