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I want to see my grandkids; what rights do I have?

It happens all too often. People have kids, and those kids grow up to have children of their own and turn to their parents for help. Then, for personal reasons, they stop letting their parents see their grandkids. This not usually an expectation, but it happens. Now, parents do have the right to say who their children can see and when, but in the state of Kansas, grandparents have rights, too.

So, what can grandparents who want to see their grandchildren do? What rights do the state say that they have? Is going to court necessary to resolve this type of situation?

What to do

If talking with your children to figure out a visitation schedule proves ineffective, taking the matter to court may be the only way to get it resolved. The process of seeking visitation rights to grandchildren starts with a petition and a letter. You will need to file a petition for visitation in court. With the petition, a letter explaining why visitation with you would be of benefit to your grandchildren is necessary.

Why a letter? Before a judge makes a decision like this, he or she needs to understand why it really is the best thing. If a judge thinks it is worth considering, the court will then set a hearing date to address the matter in person with the parents of the affected children present. All sides will get the opportunity to express their point of view on the matter.

State laws

Not all grandparent visitation requests will receive approval. There generally needs to be evidence that the affected children previously had a quality relationship with their grandparents before a court will order visitation time. The grandparents allowed to seek visitation have to be directly related. Those who may not seek grandparent visitation rights are:

  • Great-grandparents
  • Step-grandparents

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that these individuals do not legally qualify as grandparents.

Do I have to fight this fight alone?

No. Just because the state allows grandparents to fight for visitation time, it does not mean that it is easy to come by. Before taking the matter to court, an attorney can review the facts of your case and help you decide if it is in your best interests to and will serve the best interests of the affected children. If you choose to proceed, having legal counsel at your side during court proceedings may prove extremely valuable.

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