Do Grandparents Have Rights in Kentucky?

grandparents rights in kentucky

Grandparents often develop strong bonds with their grandchildren. However, significant changes to a family structure, such as divorce, separation, or the death of a parent, can impact these bonds. In such cases, grandparents may wonder about their rights and the options they have. In this article, we will shed light on these rights and the opportunities available to grandparents in Kentucky. 

Visitation Rights

In Kentucky, grandparents have certain legal rights to visit their grandchildren. However, these rights are not absolute and must be shown to be in the grandchild’s best interests. Grandparents can request visitation rights with the court before or after a divorce, separation, or the death of one of the child’s parents. Yet, it is important to understand that state courts usually assume that parents act in their child’s best interests, including approving or rejecting grandparent visitation rights. As a result, if one or both parents object to grandparent visitation, the grandparents must prove that court-ordered visitation is in the grandchild’s best interests and overcome this presumption.

The factors that a court will consider in these situations include the following:

  • The relationship between the grandparent and grandchild
  • The amount of time a grandparent will spend with the grandchild
  • How a court-ordered visitation will impact the relationship between the child and the parents
  • The physical and emotional well-being of the parents involved
  • Depending on the age, the child’s wishes and preferences

If the grandparent can establish that the parent’s objections are unfounded based on these factors, the court may grant the grandparent’s request for a scheduled visit.

Seeking Custody

Although court-ordered visits allow grandparents to spend time with their grandchild, legal custody is required to be involved in parenting decisions, and physical custody is necessary to have the child live with a grandparent. In Kentucky, the court considers various factors to determine the custody arrangement that serves a child’s best interest. These factors typically include the following:

  • A parent’s preferences and wishes
  • The child’s preferences and wishes
  • The child’s relationships with their parents, siblings, and other involved family members
  • The physical and mental health of those involved
  • The child’s adjustment to the current school, home, and community
  • Whether there is any history of domestic violence
  • Other reasons for placing the child in another person’s care

In general, courts usually assume that it is in the best interest of a child to be in custody of their biological or legal parent. This assumption holds true unless the child has lived with a grandparent or any other person who has acted as a parent (de facto parent) for at least one year (for children over three years old) or six months (for children under three years old).

Contact Hoffman Walker & Knauf for Further Information About Grandparents Rights in Kentucky

If you have questions about grandparents’ rights in Kentucky or want to discuss a specific situation in more detail, do not wait to get the answers you need. Contact Hoffman Walker & Knauf today to learn more about your legal options and how our experienced legal team can help you.