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What is considered when applying for grandparents' rights

Laws determining visitation rights for grandparents differ from state to state. In Kentucky, laws governing grandparents' rights have not been changed or revised since 1996. However, the interpretation and administration of the existing laws have been impacted by case law over the years. As a result, Kentucky is classified as "permissive" with regard to grandparents' visitation.

A significant change is the fact that, instead of expecting the grandparents to prove that the child will be harmed by not allowing a grandparent-child relationship, the court now uses a version of the best interests of the child as the basis for decisions. Along with other more common considerations, the court can now rule against spiteful and vindictive actions by a parent. Furthermore, instead of evidence that is clear and convincing, it now recommends a standard of preponderance of the evidence.

Other considerations that are based upon case law from 2004 include the stability and nature of the grandparent-child relationship and the amount of time they have spent in the company of one another. The potential benefits and detriments of visitation, and any side effects such visitation will have on the relationship between the parents and the child will play a role. The court will also look at the emotional and physical health of the parents and grandparents, and the level of stability of the child in his or her schooling and living arrangements. Lastly, depending on the child's age, his or her preferences might be considered.

Grandparents could attempt to resolve visitation issues through mediation, which can be arranged by an experienced Kentucky family law attorney. However, if the level of contention will not allow this, the attorney can explain the choices and legal options. A lawyer can provide the necessary support and guidance to petition the court for obtaining grandparents' rights when necessary.

Source:, "Kentucky Grandparents' Rights", Susan Adcox, Accessed on Oct. 13, 2017

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