The Kentucky Supreme Court has made it harder for grandparents to win visitation with their grandchildren when the child’s parents object.Of course the parents should have near-total authority. The alternative is to give some stupid family court judge near-total authority.
In a 6-1 ruling, the state’s high court ruled Thursday that parents who oppose giving a grandparent visitation must be presumed to be acting in the child’s best interests.
The court did not strike down Kentucky’s 1984 grandparent visitation law but said a grandparent must present “clear and convincing” evidence to win the right to visit a grandchild over a parent’s objection.
“Kentucky courts cannot presume that grandparents and grandchildren will always benefit from contact with each other,” the court ruled. “If the only proof that a grandparent can present is that they spent time with the child and attended holidays and special occasions, this alone cannot overcome the presumption that the parent is acting in the child’s best interest.” ...
“That is an awful high legal standard,” said former Jefferson Family Court Judge Louis Waterman, adding that it gives “near-total authority” to parents. ...
The court said grandparents may win court-ordered visitation if they can show that the child would be harmed by denying it or where the grandparent and child lived in the same household for some time or the grandparent regularly baby sat the child.
The court directed judges to consider eight factors, including the nature and stability of the relationship between the child and the grandparent; the amount of time they had spent together; the effect that granting visitation would have on the child’s relationship with the parents; and the wishes and preferences of the child.
I have readers who are grandparents, and they want to see their grandkids. But should the judge really be overruling the parents and saying who the kids can and cannot visit? I say no.
Even with this decision, if parents ask the grandparents to babysit the kids, then they are running the risk that some judge will order visitation in the future. If the parents want to play it safe, then they should put their kids in daycare instead letting the grandparents babysit, if there is any risk that the grandparents will turn litigious.
Of course I am a parent, and these Kentucky grandparents still have more rights to see their grandkids than I have to see my own kids. I was not just a babysitter either.