At common law, grandparents did not have the legal right to visit a grandchild over the objection of the child’s parent. In 1984, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted statutes whereby grandparents in Kentucky can petition the court for visitation with their grandchildren. Under those statutes, a Court may grant reasonable visitation rights to a grandparent if the grandparent can prove by clear and convincing evidence that visitation is in the child’s best interests.
In 2000, the issue of grandparent visitation rights was addressed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000). In that case, the highest Court in the land determined that a fit parent has a constitutional right to raise their children as they deem appropriate. The Court’s ruling ultimately held that grandparents inherently do not have the right to seek visitation and stated the following:
“[S]o long as a parent adequately cares for his or her children (i.e., is fit), there will normally be no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent’s children.”
All 50 States have had a hard time applying this rationale to their own statutes and laws governing grandparent visitation. After Troxel, many States simply declared their grandparent visitation statutes unconstitutional. Kentucky has not done that. Instead, the Kentucky Court of Appeals heightened the level of scrutiny courts should give to these types of cases by reiterating that fit parents are presumed to make decisions that are in the best interests of their child and that, in order to overcome this presumption, the grandparent must meet their evidentiary burden, which is the “clear and convincing” standard, and clearly establish that visitation is in the child’s best interests.
In Family Court, there are no jury trials. A bench trial is conducted by the Judge without a jury, and therefore, the presiding Judge decides both questions of fact and questions of law. In many cases, this results in the Judge interposing their own feelings, personal beliefs, and experiences onto the case. Grandparent visitation cases can often be very emotionally charged, and thus, difficult to resolve by mediation. Therefore, these cases almost always go to a hearing and are left for the Judge to decide.
Over time, this topic has become a very hot button issue, since people feel so strongly one way or the other – some people empathize with the grandparents who have been cut out of their grandchildren’s lives, whereas other people believe strongly in a parent’s constitutional right to determine who their child is exposed to. Therefore, it is recommended that a person seeking to gain or suppress grandparent visitation obtain legal counsel.
Experienced Louisville Grandparents’ Rights, Lawyer
If you are concerned about your grandchildren and your ability to maintain a relationship with them, contact a family law attorney at Goldberger Simpson.
We help injured families in Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, Paducah, Ashland, Owensboro, Elizabethtown, Madisonville, and Pikeville, Kentucky. Call 502-589-4440 for a free confidential consultation.
Goldberg Simpson will help you recover financial compensation for your injuries, and generate the best outcome. Goldberg Simpson can help clients with grandparents’ rights, throughout the greater Louisville, Kentucky area, including the Kentucky counties of Adair, Allen, Ballard, Barren, Breckinridge, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumberland, Daviess, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Grayson, Green, Hansock, Hart, Henderson, Hickman, Hopkins, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, McCracken, McLean, Metcalfe, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Russell, Simpson, Todd, Trigg, Union, Warren, and Webster, as well as the Anderson, Bath, Bell, Boone, Bourbon, Boyd, Boyle, Bracken, Breathitt, Bullitt, Campbell, Carroll, Carter, Casey, Clark, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Franklin, Gallatin, Garrard, Grant, Greenup, Hancock, Hansock, Hardin, Harlan, Harrison, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Jessamine, Johnson, Kenton, Knott, Knox, Larue, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Magoffin, Marion, Martin, Mason, McCreary, Meade, Menifee, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Nelson, Nicholas, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Pendleton, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Taylor, Trimble, Washington, Wayne, Whitley, Wolfe and Woodford.
If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Goldberg Simpson at 502-589-4440.
The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before a specific date, (statute of limitations). Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.