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Melissa A. Featherston

Do grandparents have legal rights to custody in Missouri?

After parents divorce, it can change the dynamic of the entire family, affecting grandparents and other family members. In particularly complex situations, grandparents could be denied visitation with their grandchildren, even if there is no reason for preventing contact. When complicated family situations arise, it is useful to understand the legal rights of grandparents in Missouri.

The laws of the state of Missouri may provide visitation rights to grandparents in very specific circumstances. Grandparents may be granted visitation if the parents have divorced. A court may also be sympathetic to grandparents if one parent is deceased and the other parent is denying visitation. If parents deny visitation for more than 90 days, grandparents may seek a legal remedy to the situation. 

If the child or children have been adopted, grandparents lose rights to visitation. The exception to that would be if the children are adopted by another family member, such as stepparent or a blood relative. When grandparents seek a better understanding of their options according to Missouri law, a case evaluation can reveal if they have a legal claim to visitation and the best way to move forward to protect their interests. 

When grandparents have concerns about their legal rights and would like to learn how to navigate the legal system in pursuit of a resolution, an attorney familiar with complex family law situations can help. Grandparents are not guaranteed visitation, but they do have the right to appeal to the court. All visitation schedules and modifications are subject to approval by a judge and must reflect what is in the best interests of the child.

Source: grandparents.com, "Grandparent Rights: State-by-State", Accessed on April 21, 2015

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