Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kentucky weakens grandparents' rights

The Louisville newspaper reports:
The Kentucky Supreme Court has made it harder for grandparents to win visitation with their grandchildren when the child’s parents object.

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.
Of course the parents should have near-total authority. The alternative is to give some stupid family court judge near-total authority.

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.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I understand that the courts can be "frustrating" to say the least. But right now, as verbal abuse in my parents' household is the main reason my children are no longer allowed to visit them, along with falling asleep while smoking, having black outs & not knowing where they are, & the fact that my younger brother has just been recently put into a mental institution due to their behavior, I find this comforting to myself, as proving all of that would be difficult at best. I do hope your situation gets better, as it was the courts "forcing" ME to visit these people growing up is the only reason I have contact with them as an adult. I don't think that is your case, but I do hope someone sees the light for you & your children.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this decision. In some cases it is not best for the child/children to see Grand parents. Each case is different with different circumstances in my case the father is in prison for a crime of a sexual nature and obviously I do not wish to subject my minor child to this negative influence no judge should force un wanted relationships. I have a valid reason for wanting to deny the grand parents the right to my child. Laws are ment to protect parents and children, and grand parents, but a parent should have say over who that child is to be around. I feel I have a legitimate reason for not wanting thies people around my child as it is not in the best intrest of said child. I should not be forced to place my child around a sex-offender, nor the family of one. So, NO, not all grand parents should have rights, especially
When the PARENT has a valid reason for denying those rights.

Anonymous said...

Not all persons should have rights espucallt of it can bring harm to those involved.

Anonymous said...

I have a question--my brother and his ex-wife have shared parenting and she wants to keep their kids from visiting our family in Ohio, even supervised with my brother. Is it possible she could get a court order stating the kids are not able to visit us?

George said...

Usually one parent cannot dictate what another parent does. But some family do crazy things.

Anonymous said...

My son passed away a little over two years ago. He was 20 and my only child. He has a son, and for two months after he passed, his girlfriend and my grandson lived with me. They saved my life. I babysat him every Friday night for two years while she went to school, and whenever else she needed me. New boyfriend comes into the picture, and now it seems like every time my husband and I ask to visit, they are always too busy, going somewhere together or with her family. I just love the boy, and all we want is one day a week for a few hours with him. I don't think it is too much to ask. He has no other grandparents besides us. I know he loves me because when I do get to see him, his little face lights up just like mine does. He will say, "Granny, where have you been?" Just sad for us both, but she is the mom and I guess that is all that matters. Love her too, and don't understand the thinking behind what she does.

Vicki Griffith said...

Can someone please help us? My husband and I each have a child from previous marriage and we have 2 children together that are adults now. My husband daughter was raised in a alcoholic and drug environment and was kept from my husband even paying her child support, she did not want us to know what was going on, About 9 yrs ago we contacted by her stating she was married and going to have a child, at that time she was 18 her husband was 42 this man was older than her father, that man now has the child. In Sept 2013 we brought her and her baby daddy to our home to have a better future, sadly on Dec 22,2013 this man she had another child with passed away in our home. We told her would help her with the kids but she had to either get a job or go to school to get a trade, our home is a stable environment and large enough for her and the children, on Dec 28,2013 she tried to sneak out of our house to go back to Ky, she was picked up by the police and lied to them about us and how her baby father had pasted away, she was picked up for no driver license, no registration, no insurance, and not having proper restraints (there was no seat belts at all in it) the police felt sorry for her and let her go. For months she would take our grandson from house to house and party to party at 6 months, I contacted everyone I could in KY and Children and Family Services and had welfare checks done when I found out where she was and because they had a roof, clothing and food I was told they were fine by the Sheriff department, a couple of months ago she ask the other grandmother to watch him and never came back so she went and got temporary custody of him and now has permit custody of him without even us being notified, the other grandmother is ill with heart problems and her husband with cancer, lives in a shack and I mean shack, it's clean but falling in and unsafe for a child, and it only has one bedroom, not enough room to raise a child, the state of Ky told me it was fine for him to live there, we did not know she had gone and got custody until it was over. Now we have no contact with him what so ever and constantly worry about his physical and mental state, he has some learning disabilities, I know he is not getting any therapy, he was suppose to start therapy here in Illinois. This grandmother lost all 3 of her children, the last one from drugs, the grandmother does enable my step daughter with her alcohol and drug problems, my step daughter does not want us to have anything with any of the kids because we do not agree with her life style. My question is, in the state of Ky is there anyway we can either get custody or visitation at our home for a period time? Can someone please help before it's to late for him....:-(

Anonymous said...

"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."

SO TRUE. I realize this post is several years old, but as a woman who was a single mom most of her life (mom at age 18; college educated, non-welfare or child support recipient), I am experiencing the God-awful truth of this statement now. Now, my daughter's paternal grandmother and grandmother are trying to use the child care card to have de facto custodian status.

Anonymous said...

In a divorce decree we were to have visitation once a month with our grandchild. Our son is in the service several states away and unable to come home every month. The visitation was stipulated by him so he would get to skype with his son. His ex-wife won't let us get him, sighting something every time we are to get him. So very frustrating!