Understanding the Complexity of Grandparent Visitation Rights in Missouri

Although grandparents do not have an automatic right to grandchild visitation in Missouri, there are times when grandparents need to seek visitation proactively.  

According to Missouri law, a grandparent may seek visitation rights only under specific circumstances. Missouri’s statute (RSMo. § 452.402) requires the following conditions be met before a grandparent seeks visitation rights:

  • The parents of the child have filed for a dissolution of their marriage

  • The grandchild has resided in the grandparent’s home for at least six (6) months within the preceding twenty-four (24) months

  • One parent of the child is deceased, and the surviving parent denies reasonable visitation to a parent of the deceased parent of the child

  • If one of the 3 situations above have occurred, the grandparent must also have been unreasonably denied visitation for a period of at least ninety (90) consecutive days

In Missouri, when the statutory factors outlined above have been met, the court must still make a determination that visitation time is in the child’s best interests and will not endanger the child’s physical health or emotional development. The court exercises discretion to determine what is in the child’s best interests, and in some cases may appoint a Guardian ad Litem to assist in its analysis.

Although the requirements are stringent, Missouri courts and legislature have provided an avenue for grandparents to pursue visitation rights when it has been wrongfully denied.

By | 2018-06-29T03:18:23+00:00 May 23rd, 2018|