Missouri’s grandparents can only be awarded legal rights of visitation with their grandchildren under the limited provisions of statutory law.
The award of such rights is discretionary with the court.
If the parents of the child have filed for dissolution of their marriage, the grandparents have a mandatory right to intervene, or come into, this legal action but only on the issue of visitation rights.
They can also file a motion to modify this judgment to seek these rights when such visitation has been denied to them.
Another avenue is when one parent is deceased and the surviving parent unreasonably denies visitation to the deceased’s parents.
Yet a third way is when the child has lived with the grandparents for at least 6 months within the 24 months immediately preceding the filing of a petition for visitation. This instance also includes a provision that these grandparents have been denied visitation for a period more than 90 days. The 90 days is calculated at the time of the judgment, not the filing of the petition.
There are other considerations regarding the best interests of the child. The court must determine if the visitation would be in the best interests of the child; if not, then no visitation can be ordered. It also needs to decide if such would endanger the child’s physical health or impair the child’s emotional development.
It is important to consult with an attorney experienced in these matters.