Although natural parents have a fundamental, constitutional right to make decisions regarding their children, Missouri’s grandparent visitation statute has been held to be legal by the Missouri Supreme Court because it is narrowly constructed and protects the interests of the natural parents and children. Here are some of the ways in which Grandparents commonly obtain visitation rights:
(1) By petitioning for reasonable visitation times during a divorce proceeding;
(2) One parent of the child is deceased and the surviving parent denies the grandparent visitation rights;
(3) The child is adopted by a step-parent or other relative.
Grandparents cannot just petition for visitation rights outside of the statutory exceptions. For example, if the natural parents are legally married to each other and are living together with the child, a grandparent will not be granted visitation.
In more extreme circumstances, termination of parental rights may also be appropriate.
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