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Grandparents’ rights: custody and visitation

I have come across situations recently where parents were surprised by legal stances the grandparents (their own parents) took regarding their children. In one situation, a young parent went to college to make a better life and was not at a point where he/she embraced the obligations of parenthood. The parent and grandparents agreed that her young child would stay with the grandparents for extended periods of time with the understanding that the child would return to the parent once school was completed. Another situation involved grandparents, who had liberal visits with the grandchild, threatening litigation to ge more visits when the child was grounded for a time.

Common to both situations was the shock by the parents over the standing they discovered the grandparents had to solidify their position in the child’s life legally. This information is not intended to take the side of parents or of grandparents, but simply to educate people about unintended consequences of decisions they make regarding their children and grandchildren.

Kentucky, and many other states now have provisions for establishing a de facto custodian standing by persons, often grandparents, who provide extended care for a child. The exact criteria for Kentucky can be found in KRS 403.270. Basically, if a person other than a parent is the primary care provider and financial supporter of a child for a certain amount of time, courts are to give them equal consideration as the parent in custody determinations. There are more complicated aspects to this law and it interacts with other custody laws, but the basic idea is that if a parent leaves a child in the care of a grandparent (or other person) for six months (children under 3 years of age) or a year (children 3 or older), then that care provider may gain rights to that child that equal that of the parent. It is unlikely that even written agreements to the contrary would alter that standing, and verbal agreements certainly would not prevent this legal standing from coming into being.

Similarly, Kentucky and many states have statutes that appear to grant visitation rights to grandparents. In Kentucky, the statute is KRS 405.021. This law turns out to be weaker than the de facto custody law because of U.S. Constitutional concerns so it is less likely that a grandparent could get a court to force visitation with a grandchild over the reasoned objection of the parents. However, it does open the door to grandparents filing suit in court which can be an expensive and conflict ridden experience.

For parents contemplating using someone, like a grandparent, for extended child care, you should consult with a family law attorney regarding the specifics and the risks involved. For grandparents who are care providers and concerned about losing that status and the wellbeing of your charge, consult a family law attorney with the specifics to see what standing you may have. Although potential legal actions exist, it is best to work out visits between grandchildren and grandparents with reasonableness and the interests of the child in mind.

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July 21, 2008 - Posted by | child custody, Family Law, Parenting | , , , , ,

53 Comments »

  1. i need help
    6462464454

    Comment by elizabeth | August 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. my daughter keeps threating not to let use see our grandson when we tell her things she dosenot want to hear. she and grandson move into apatment with her boy freind he tell her to threat use with all of this,we have raise her son for 2yrs.with a place to live and clothes to wear please hepl use out

    Comment by barbie | October 14, 2008 | Reply

  3. We are having similiar situation but my son is married to a woman not of his own culture or even beliefs and when he was in jail she did not not allowed us to visit with our 3 grandchildren although my husban and I have help them fanacially she does not let us teach our grandchildren about our culture or belief.I don’t have a problem about her teaching them about hers I think it is great for them to expand there opportunities to learn about diversity.It has been over three months since we have seen them.Please someone outhere help us.I just want to spend time with them so they now who we are.

    Comment by Amanda Mendez | April 4, 2009 | Reply

  4. We are having similiar situation but my son is married to a woman not of his own culture or even beliefs and when he was in jail she did not not allowed us to visit with our 3 grandchildren although my husban and I have help them fanacially she does not let us teach our grandchildren about our culture or belief.I don’t have a problem about her teaching them about hers I think it is great for them to expand there opportunities to learn about diversity.It has been over three months since we have seen them.Please someone outhere help us.I just want to spend time with them so they now who we are,as well as there family history.

    Comment by Amanda Mendez | April 4, 2009 | Reply

  5. My granddaughter’s mother will not let me see my her outside of my son’s court established visitation. Unfortunately, my son often allows the mother to keep my granddaughter even on his weekends. We spent 2000 dollars on my son’s behalf to get his visitation changed to go with his new work schedule and now we see our grandchild less than before! My husband and I are so frustrated, do we have a chance if we pursue our own visitation? We have an 8 year history of being consistent people in her life. I am even her God mother but am not allowed to take her to church!

    Comment by Robini Waldron | July 2, 2009 | Reply

  6. Hello, I have a concern being the parent, not the grandparent. My mother has threatened to pursue her “grandparent” rights because we (my siblings) and I wont allow our mother to just drop in and out of our children’s lives when she sees fit. She is very unstable and needs help mentally, but works in a social services field. My mother and I have always had issues concerning my children and my desicions with my children. I am happily married to the same man for many years and I am a stay at home mother. So is there any real threat to be made legally to “endanger” my children mentally or emotionally by my mother? Thank you.

    Comment by Mrs. Brinks | August 22, 2009 | Reply

    • I think you need to bury the hatchet between you and your mother and let her see her grandchildren as often as she likes. She reared you didn’t she. It is not fair to the children to withhold a relationship with them and their maternal grandparent/s. I am going through a similar situation. My son and I have not been on good speaking terms since his adolescent years of being defiant and disrespectful. He and his wife uses my granddaughter to hurt me. It is not fair to neither of us. You may have some issues with your mother, but you need to get over it and work things out. You want to be a better mom don’t you?

      Comment by Donna Scarberry | October 18, 2011 | Reply

      • Seriously? She has stated that her mother is mentally unstable and she is trying to protect them from that. Grandparents seeing their grandkids is not a right, it is a priviledge. Unfortunately, there are some grandparents that are emotionally dangerous for children to be around. She is protecting her children from a woman she knows very well and so you try to emotionally blackmail her into resuming contact! Why? Because of your own agenda? Maybe you should ask your son why he does not care to be in your prescence, offer a sincere and specific apology, and try to fix things? I nearly guarantee it’s not to hurt you, but to protect your granddaughter. I see how freely you emotionally blackmail complete strangers on the internet….wonder what you do to those you know?

        Comment by Astounded at the Audacity | February 13, 2013

    • I really don’t think your mother is mentally unstable if she works in the social service field. Someone there would reconize this if that were true. That is one of the things they do. I think you should let your mother see her grandbabies and give them the love they deserve. They will resent you later on in life for not letting them have their grandmother in thier life if you don’t. Burry the hatchet, grow up and get over it and ask her to do the same. She loves you and her grandbabies! I’m sure that what ever it was that she did that you didn’t agree with was only because she had your best interest at heart. Being a parent is hard. Remember, what comes around goes around. You will be a grandparent one day. Do you want to see your grandkids?

      Comment by Cwa | May 5, 2013 | Reply

      • I have to get on my soap box. Just because someone works for social services does not mean they aren’t mentally stable. I have been through court with my parents for the so called grandparent rights. I have 3 kids, my own house (for 17 years) and my parents did not financially support me in any way shape or form. My mother was a county elected official and decided she could lie her way through court, which she did. She had no proof of NOTHING! Didn’t have to prove me unfit, didn’t have to prove she supported my children, she and her husband (my so called dad) decided they would take me to court for visitation because I told them to stop letting my kids drink beer! They were mad because I put my foot down! They are controlling and when I stood up to them, it pissed them off. So, they went after my kids. They wanted every other weekend, 2 weeks in Christmas, 2 additional weeks nonconsecutive during the same summer! The kids were only out of school for 8 weeks if that! Yes, this is in Kentucky! After going to court 4 times in 6 months, I finally got them to terminate their visitation. I would have went to the Supreme Court and sued their ass off. They only got 1 weekend per month, I was ordered to give them at least 2 weeks notice, which I did, and they never took it. They would ask for visitation 2 days before, I would decline. Tried to throw me in jail because I wouldn’t let them have my kids on Thanksgiving Day. Then, to top it off, my kids were sick on their last visit and they wouldn’t let me talk to my kids on the phone. She said if I wanted to talk to my kids I needed to come to their house! What the hell?? I almost spit in her face! They did everything wrong and decided they were the parents! They love to see me hurt! I feel if you have a problem with me, lets go at it. But you leave my kids out of it! They were abusive parents and are abusive grandparents, but money always talks in Kentucky. Court didn’t care that they let my kids (all under 10) drink beer, my dad said if the kids wanted it he would give it to them. DOMESTIC RELATIONS COMMISSIONER DIDN’T CARE! I was still overruled! Now, they try to go behind my back and getting other people involved to they can see the kids. “When ___ comes over, call me so I can come and see him” type of crap. Well…..,why don’t they just ask me? THE MOM

        Comment by Mom that's been there done that in Kentucky | November 23, 2013

  7. Hi. My son has a baby momma, assuming that the baby is his. She is still married but has been separated for awhile. Dana is approximately 32 weeks pregnant and at 31 weeks she still hasnt went for her first ob appt. She has two children already (both of whom I love dearly and not allowed to see). My son and Dana are not getting along. She won’t return my calls or texts. Pending a DNA test at birth, what are my rights as a grandmother?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    Comment by Lorna Johnson | December 8, 2009 | Reply

  8. My son is in the military & his ex wife refuses to let us see our 4 grandsons. She says she desn’t get enough child support. She has been arrested for drugs, purchasing & using. she had an affair and has a baby and that is what caused the divorce. Every time he has left the country she has cheated on him. Any way, I just want to see my grandsons. what can we do so we can spend some time with them? we aren’t even allowed to wish them happy birthday on the phone. we tried taking them presents for christmas & she refused to let them have them. She needed money instead. My heartbroke when we were backing out of her drive and their 4 little faces were watching us leave from the living room window. we need some help & have been told there was really nothing we could do. There has to be something.

    Comment by Sharon Ray | December 23, 2009 | Reply

  9. My son is brainwashed by his wife and mother in law and his father who is a sociopath. I gave my son thousands of dollars during their life together to help him and his wife get on their feet. My son is using his kids now that he does not need my money to not let me see them. I am sick beyond sick by this. I am not even allowed to speak to them on the phone. I want KENTUCKY to get serious about the fact that I should have rights to see my grand kids in some form or fashion as I love them very much and they are growing up without me in their lives. I cannot believe that Kentucky does not set down laws to accommodate a grandparent seeing their grandchild even if it is once a year. I made a million trips to see my grandkids and now I cannot see them at all. My son has many of the sociopathic traits of his father and my daughter in law only allows her mother to spend large amounts of time with my grand children. I did all the work for them and gave them money and now this. Young kids having kids are using their kids as weapons against their parents. If I don’t agree with them all of the time then I am immediately cut out of their life. This time I cannot take it anymore and will not play by their rules just to see the babies. I love them. I paid for my son and his wife and should have some recourse.

    Comment by cherie montgomery | February 10, 2010 | Reply

    • I do not know what your entire situation is, HOWEVER I do know that simply by the fact that you are using “i gave them thousands of dollars to get back on their feet” as an excuse to be able to see your grandchildren that you too have issues you need to work out with yourself. I am a mother of 4 and have a stepdaughter as well and I do not allow my in-laws to see my children because of the way that they have treated me, my husband and our children. I am not saying that you fall in that category with your son, but there is some reason why you are not allowed to see them. Why don’t you try to talk with both your son and your daughter in law and get to the bottom of the issue? I know that if I needed help from my parents of in laws and they helped us out, but then started saying ” I have helped you so let me see my grandchildren” I would not allow them to see them for a while based on that comment alone. Seeing children/grandchildren is a priviledge not a right or obligation. Truth be told, then do not have to allow you to see their children at all. That is their right as the parents, as I previously stated you are ALLOWED to see them, because they let you. Children are not a payback or a purchase that you make, they are a gift. Let the fact go that you lent them that money, it is in the past. Work on your relationship with your son and daughter in law, then you can worry about the relationship you have with your grandchildren. Just from your post I would bet that you showed up to their home unannounced since you stated you werent allowed to see them and then you were sent away. I personally do not agree with not accepting tht gifts for the children, after all you are their grandparents, but when someone shows up at my home without mine or my husbands knowledge of the visit before hand, we do not allow them into our house either. Its just common curteousy and respect. Honestly to me, like i said i do not know the entire situation, it sounds like there are some priorities that you yourself need to sort out. Without an improved relationship with the parents, you will not be able to have a relationship with the children. Sorry thats just the way it goes.

      Comment by Amie | August 13, 2012 | Reply

    • My name is Robert Castillo. I live in Wichita ,ks .I believe you should have to see your grand children . My ex-wife tried to keep me from seeing my children . I think you should contact your local & state officials . They are elected by the people in your state , therefor they should work for you. I have a grandson in ky. My son has tried to see him ,but she won’t let him ! He has asked for a DNA test but she refuses to give one .Her husband thinks the child is his . I agree with you . I think you should bee persistant .( Again ) Contact all your state reps. Thank you and god bless you . good luck ! You can e-mail @ rmcastillo298@gmail.com. Take care.

      Comment by Robert castillo | November 9, 2012 | Reply

      • My name is Alice Johnson, my son had a child with a woman he was not married to, I didn’t agree with this situation, but knowing it was my grandchild I was very good to the mother before my granddaughter was born. I paid their electric deposit, gas, phone, water to get them started, neither one of them was ready to devote the time needed to care for a child, & provide the essentials. My son did contribute more than the mother. I kept my granddaughter from the time she was born a lot of the time, which I adored & loved her so much. The mother called me to take her to the hospital one night, she said she almost snapped & hurt her son, who was 6, & her parents wouldn’t take her to the hospital. I was on oxygen, had my granddaughter, I drove 20 miles, bought her clothes inside & out for the hospital, she was admitted in the mental ward. I didn’t know she was on meth. I never did drugs, so didn’t know anything about them. I visited her every time I was allowed, brought her home with me, & she stayed at my home for 2 weeks. She said she was going to visit her parents, took my granddaughter with her. She arrived at my home right after one of my sons went to work, an hour before the other one came home, & about an hour before my husband arrived. I asked her where my granddaughter was, she said she was in the car at 10 at night with her son in my driveway. She had 2 huge guys with her, they proceeded to get 3 huge trash bags, & just started looting my home. I told her go get my granddaughter I want to see her. My granddaughter looked like she had been beaten, had a huge egg knot on her head, & right down the middle it stood up about an inch. She started to take the clothes, which I provided all clothes for my granddaughter except what she wore home from the hospital since she was born. I was so upset over my granddaughter, I didn’t realize they were robbing me. I did tell her you do not take her clothes, you bought nothing. I did not call the police, should have, just didn’t think about it. I did take my granddaughter to a doctor her head was fractured, but the doctor said their was nothing I could do about it. I called social services & was advised not to allow the mother to take the child. I provided everything for my granddaughter, I didn’t ask the government for anything, I’ve been to court with this woman more times than I can count, the social worker assigned to her thought the child should be with this bipolar, habitual liar, didn’t work, but just enough to draw the earned income. She didn’t take care of her son, her parents did, she used him to get what she wanted from them. She showed up high on meth in court, I ask for drug test. I tried to explain to my granddaughter that I was her grandmother not mama, but she didn’t understand. I took her to the best preschool, did everything in my power to give her a good life. This woman drove by my home everyday, never stopped once to see my granddaughter, & I told her she could see her, but she could not take her with her anywhere. My spouse 2nd marriage, my 1st spouse is deceased, drugged me, he was DEA licensed supervisor at a hospital & nursing home, he almost killed me, but worse than that he molested my granddaughter. I lost my home, my car, most of my furnishings, I didn’t have anyone to help me. I pressed charges against my spouse who went to prison. I made the mistake of thinking the mother should know her daughter, her social worker took this & ran with it. She lied on documents presented to the court, I wasn’t allowed in the courtroom, stated my son had custody. I had proven in Missouri court against my son that I in fact did have custody, I paid an attorney 5000 dollars who did nothing!!! I ask at one point if she worked for social services. I was allowed 3 phone calls per week, which my granddaughter cried & didn’t want to return to those “awful people”. I was allowed 2 weeks visitation. I did notify the govern of Ky who stated he didn’t get involved in these cases, I ask him who did? They defined judges orders, & even though I obtained a nice rent home & furnished it, had 2 visits per week with my granddaughter at my home, they put my granddaughter in foster care, due to the maternal grandfather being an alcoholic, & he beat her for crying for me, her words. I know that social service workers are trained to put that child back with the parent, the mother had not been in her life for 6 years, paid child support. I did the right thing every step of the way, & my granddaughter & I were punished. I can prove my son did not follow the judges orders when he decided to fight & curse me, & she never had physical custody. My granddaughter is living a life of hell now. I’ve seen her twice in 2 years, & that’s because my son came from Missouri. The mother, or birth carrier as I rather refer to her, married a man with a sexual abuse charge of a minor & that’s where she is. I don’t know what to do anymore, but get it all together again & try court again. I lost my step dad of 34 years a few days before the last court date, but I was there, less than a month later I lost my mom. I really need some help with all of this, because the judge dismissed a charge against the maternal grandfather that a grand jury had indicted sighting one man was already in prison for sexual molestation, although she had to be taken to the hospital. I have never hurt her nor would I ever. I was married to my spouse for 20 years, & didn’t blink an eye in doing the right thing, now tell me what is right about all of this?

        Comment by Alice Johnson | May 6, 2014

  10. My son married into a family that set out to get rid of me. I know how outrageous that sounds, but it’s true. I was not even invited to bridal showers for no reason (married 1996). Invitations did not have my son’s family on them – I asked about it and was met with instant anger. A couple of years later I am diagnosed with breast cancer and go through a bilateral mastectomy … Well, I am a survivor so I put all of that aside and was the best mother and mother-in-law ever. Things seemed fine up until about three years ago when they started to have a baby. Then started less and less time for me, no response to gifts I would mail, no mother’s day card, etc., etc. I now have a 2-1/2 year old granddaughter I have not even seen – I had to beg for pictures and have only 4 newborn ones. I send gifts and I send emails and no response. My son is so brainwashed by his wife and inlaws and I have been so cheated. I wish Kentucky had a law that in these kinds of situations the parents must prove that the grandparent is unfit – I would offer this child nothing but love. And this is being done for me because his wife and her family want this child to themself. How cruel and inhumane is that? I can’t believe my only son is capable of such cruelty, but he will do anything for his wife and her family and I have been sacrificed. But I will survive. I don’t know how they live with themselves.

    Comment by Cynthia Taylor | April 8, 2010 | Reply

    • Cynthia, I am going through the very same situation with my son and his wife and family. My health has deteriorated because of the hurt and grief it has caused. My son has broke all ties with me because I have not gave up on wanting to be a part of my granddaughters life. His wife’s family are so involved. Likewise, I have no pictures except for the ones that my youngest son has secretly gave to me. I feel that this is a fine line between parent and child abuse and neglect. The grandchildren have every right in the world to know both sides of their family. I supported my son and his wife during her pregnancy. I have bought them numerous supplies and clothing for the baby, to find out that it went in the trash. I agree that Kentucky laws should help grandparents who are good citizens and taxpayers of their state, in pursuing some means of visitation with their grandchildren.

      Comment by Donna Scarberry | October 18, 2011 | Reply

      • Donna, thank you so much for your reply … sorry it has taken me so long to thank you. It’s now been nearly 5 years and I have not seen my grandaughter who is nearly 5 years old and I have discovered that there is a second granddaughter now. My son told me that his daughter needed a “loving home” and not the gifts I was sending. How is this kind of dysfunction a “loving home”? These two little girls will grow up never knowing me or my side of the family and are being denied my love and affection. You know … I keep searching for grandparents’ rights … but really – what about these grandchildren’s rights? Who will speak for them? Who will make sure that these grandchildren are not denied their right to family members just because of the power that their parents can use? Perhaps for now it’s legally OK … but morally and ethically and even socially it is not acceptable. It is abominable that we are left with all of this shame and little recourse but to just go on with our lives and wait.

        Cynthia Taylor, July 10, 2012

        Comment by Cynthia Taylor | July 10, 2012

  11. I have this situation where my fiance’s mom came into my home and demanded day’s with my kids when we refused to give her what she wanted so then she decieded to assult her son in our home and is now taking us to court for HER rights. I have to say what rights does a woman have if she puts her hands on her own son. We have been going through this for almost 2 years and this is old. We have gone to mediation and that didn’t work she would take what we offered. I feel as if she wants to be the one in charge of all decisions we make for our kids

    Comment by Elizabeth | July 13, 2010 | Reply

  12. well i have a son that is 15 he got his girlfriend pregant in may she is now in her 4th month and they are broke up cause when her parent from our she maded them break up he is the cousin of the girls moms boyfriend so they think of him as family anyway there have been alot of drama going on back in forward between them my son has biplor but has it under control with medicine along with anger problems the girl has these proglems as well but is not on nothing even when she wasn’t pregant she stop her medicine and she was seeing atherpist and stop my son still does see oone and he is trying hard to control his self he is on homeschool and trying hard to get ahigh school diploma .i have heard thou others that since they both have biploro and astuff that the state will take the baby is this so is there anyway me and my husband could take it

    Comment by carolyn | September 13, 2010 | Reply

  13. my father in-law is teaching my child to disrespect our authority, even telling her that mommy and daddy’s rules are less important than his… I want my child to be able to spend time with the people she loves, but my husband and I are becoming more and more frustrated with his blatant disrespect for our authority. sometimes it is minor things like we say no to a snack and he gives it to her anyway. he has a commanding personality and no respect for what we say.
    it is getting to the point that we are considering not allowing him to have time with her.
    am I wrong for feeling this way?

    Comment by julianne | October 25, 2010 | Reply

  14. Hi,I have been in real bad shape after my daughter came in one day and said i need place to live.So she moved in her and my grandson was about 1 1/2 years old. They lived with us for a whole year. We cared and loved him with all our hearts.Then one day she took off and we werent aloud to talk or see him, till one day she would want to be in our lives again.We bonded and cared for him while his mother worked we were very very close.We havent got to see him have spoke on phone once but he is 3 now and asks who we are.This is a nightmare for me its always there it never goes away he was my sunshine and joy and my daughter has the right to just take him away. Its been 7 months since we have seen him.I have tried and tried to talk to my daughter but she will not talk. If there is any way i could see him in person? Thank You, Deborah Burlison

    Comment by Deborah Burlison | November 5, 2010 | Reply

    • maybe enjoy the time you have with the grandchild and spend some time getting to know the mother so she will TRUST you. You may be the child grandparent but your nothing to his mother. I wouldn’t let my child go with someone I didn’t trust. She probably feels the same way. Give some time to get to know her so she’ll trust you. Treat her good, even if you don’t like her. Because ultimatly thats the only way it will work out.

      Comment by shadowmandollV | July 14, 2011 | Reply

  15. wow I realize I am not alone in this situation. My sons live in girlfriend is horrible. She refuses to let my husband and I take our 5 month grand daaughter anywhere. If we want to see her it has to be at their apartment only. what are our rights please help

    Comment by Tammy | January 5, 2011 | Reply

  16. my daughter and son in law r having trouble with ssc my son in law was travling 2 pic me up in another state mu daughter had thier 3 children with her when she over dosed o her meds they took thier kids put them in foster care would not let me gat custdoy of them because i got a dui seven years ago can anyone help me thank u

    Comment by margaret hembree | February 5, 2011 | Reply

  17. I got my two grandsons on jan 27th 2008, their mother could not care for them mentaly nor financially at that time she wrote a letter giving me temp custody of them, child protective services got involved and left the boys in my care., when all of this was going on my son was in jail. He got out march 20th,2008. CPS told my son once he get on his feet that he could have the boys. I let my son take the boys with him on a trail bases,to see if he could handle the responsiblity, he couldn’t CPS was called on him , he and the boys cane back to my house. They were in my hoe for a year, they moved into their on place, now he is spending the social security benefits on him, the utilities are getting turned of, he dont have a working stove in the home, the water is off and they are sick more now then they ever been in my care.CPS was called again and nothing is being done to improve on their living conditions. please help me to get them back, hie girlfriend little boy is biteing my youngest grandson and they dont get a bath regularly and they are missing to many day of school. please help NOW……….

    Comment by shon langford | February 11, 2011 | Reply

  18. my granddaughters mother and her boyfriend have people looking for them to kill them, she is setting people up to be robbed and the boy friend is the doing the robbing and he is an convicted rapeist , and her nother is aware of the whole situation and she want let them stay with her, so they are dragging my granddaughter from pillow to post, i am very worried and stressed about my granddaughter’s safety. bullits dont have eyes and i dont want him to do anything to her, she is a little girl in a very serious and dangerious. please help me to get my granddaughter, NOW please

    Comment by shon langford | February 11, 2011 | Reply

  19. I have a 2 year old grandaughter that I am not allowed to see because I keep asking. My son was killed in an automobile accident in 2009 she was 9 months old. To begin with her mother was very good about visiting. But suddenly she decided that it wasn’t good for her to visit with us regularly. We were able to keep her over night now we can’t even see her for a few hours. What can I do?

    Comment by lost & lonely | February 13, 2011 | Reply

  20. My granddaughter who is now 8 is not being allowed to see me, her grandmother. From the time she was born she spent every Saturday night with me and as she got older there were times when her parents and she lived with me for six months or so. In addition, up until this last school year I could see her whenever I wanted. Both parents worked and I would pick her up after school and her mother would pick her up after work. We (Hailey the granddaughter0 and I have a wonderful relationship and I don’t want to lose that. The visitation they have worked out between themselves (parents divorced) was that my son would have her on weekends which he did. He would have her Friday and Saturday till around 7 and then she would come to me and spend the night. So I saw her nearly every day after she started school. Now, the last 6 months he isnt allowed to have her as often because of “softball tournaments” that seem to be every weekend against his wishes, therefore, I don’t see her as often. Do I have any rights as far as maybe saying I want her one day a week and if the mother doesn’ t agree, take her to court over it? My son says she asks for me all the time. what are my options? Thank you.

    Comment by Margaret B. | July 14, 2011 | Reply

    • you can apply for defacto visiation since you had the child that much and she lived with you. she has to live with you for 6 months or more under the age of three and 1 yr or more for anything over three. you provided after school care and provided for the child in some kind of support you should be able to get something. when the child is 12 above the usually will ask the child. you should call an attorney they will explain it to you. its free to do a consult with aDE FACTO CUSTODIAN
      WHAT IS A DE FACTO CUSTODIAN?
      A de facto custodian is a grandparent or other caregiver other then a biological parent who has
      been the primary caregiver and financial supporter of a child for at least the minimum time
      required under the statute. A grandparent or other caregiver of a child who qualifies as a de facto
      custodian has the legal right to be heard by a Kentucky court in a custody case. Without de facto
      custodian status, a grandparent can not seek custody of a grandchild without first proving that
      the biological parents are unfit to serve as parents.
      HOW DO I QUALIFY AS A DE FACTO CUSTODIAN?
      To qualify as a de facto custodian, you must prove you have been the child’s primary caregiver
      and have provided financial support for:
      (a) A continuous period of six months or more for a child under the age of three; or
      (b) A continuous period of one year or more if the child is three years or older, or has been
      placed in the home by the department of community based services.
      The de facto custodian must be (1) the primary caregiver and (2) the primary financial supporter
      5
      for (3) the requisite time period. Note that all three requirements must be met to achieve de
      facto custodian status. (If a parent has commenced an action to have the child returned the time
      after the commencement is not included in determining the required minimum time period.)
      If you have questions about qualifying as a de facto custodian, consult an attorney.
      WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT QUALIFYING AS A DE FACTO CUSTODIAN?
      • De facto custodianship is not met if a parent pays child support to the grandparent and seeks
      visitation with the custody of the children.
      • De facto guardianship is found where a grandparent has provided for the safety, shelter, and
      security of the children.
      • The de facto custodian must be the primary caregiver and financial supporter, but must also
      do so to a greater degree than the natural parents. The grandparent must literally stand in
      the place of the natural parent.
      WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF BEING A DE FACTO CUSTODIAN?
      If you meet the de facto custodian requirements, then you possess standing equal to a biological
      parent in custody proceedings. This means that the court can listen to what you have to say in a
      custody proceeding.n attorney.

      Comment by amy | December 2, 2012 | Reply

  21. My grandkids are in foster care and I been trying to see them over two years and the social worker keeps saying no. what can I do? My grandkids keep telling the social worker they want to see me and my husband.
    Commennt by Denise H./August 9,2011

    Comment by denise hardin | August 9, 2011 | Reply

  22. I challenge every grandparent living in Kentucky to speak out to their leaders and congressmen to fix and amend the laws so that we as grandparents should and can have the right to be a part of their grandchild/s lives. For those of you who are christian leaders, you should be teaching more to the youth on respecting their elders. A lot of lives are broken and destroyed because situations like this go unnoticed and ignored. Being a fifteen year old child at the time, I watched my parents go through the same hurt that I am going through now. My older brother’s wife left with his daughter one day, never to return. My parents spent a small fortune in attorney fees, trying to get some sort of visitation of their first and only grandchild. It never happened. She was whisked away to another state and given another name and my brother was forced to give up his rights because of child support issues. We never saw her again. It ripped our hearts out and tore our family apart. I am reasonably sure that the child involved in this situation has since be brain-washed in believing that none of us cared enough to fight for her. We have never been given the opportunity to express to her how much we love her. My parents went to their graves with a broken heart. I say to each and every loving grandparent,” don’t give up. Keep fighting and begging and pleading to be a part of your grandchild/s life.

    Comment by Donna Scarberry | October 18, 2011 | Reply

    • Who do we talk to? I am going thru a similuar situation with my daughter and her boyfriend. My grandbaby is 13 months old I have had her evey weekend and sometimes thru the week and the weekends. Her boyfriends mother and him have caused ALOT of problems and have brained washed my dauther and now I can’t see her and I am the provider for her. None of them have jobs, they are on welfare and drugs. I am going thru the court systems for help when I was attached by his mother and threatened by him. What can a person do if they are the providers?

      Comment by Susan Shaw | October 31, 2011 | Reply

      • Thank you for voicing the other side of this. I am a perfectly capable mother but my dad has lots of money and connections in the courthouse. He hired a lawyer and got temp visitation consisting of THREE DAYS A WEEK completely unreasonable if you ask me. There is nothing i can do about it either until our hearing next month. He gets more visits with them than he got with me as a child. Talk about a blatent disregard for my parental rights!!! Grandparents like this need to STOP!!!!!

        Comment by d | September 14, 2012

  23. I am a mother of a beautiful 5yr old girl. I have never once told anybody in my family that they can not see my daughter. but when i get into arguements with my mother to the point we dont speak for a period of time, she pulls sneaky stuff. today she went to her school and ate lunch with her (she is not on the list nor does she have authorization to do that or to pick her up. which makes me more angry that the school just lets anybody and everybody waltz right on in) then proceeded to grill her on whats going on with me. apparently trying to coach her into bad mouthing me. i told her that if she would like to see my daughter or talk to her all she has to do is ask. but when the sneaky s**t starts is when i decide i have to keep her away completely. i think grandparents abuse their rights. most of which undermind the rules and wishes of the parent feeling like they know whats best. if a grandparent would like respect and a relationship with their grandchild, they need to realize that the rules of the parent need to be respected, and that being sneaky and badmouthing will get them nowhere fast. it will make things worse. and i know alot of these g-parents that have commented on here have more than likely over stepped their boundaries with the parent and that lead to the end result of being black listed. i wish ky didnt have g-parents rights. its just one more way for the parents of a parent to try and control the way their grandchild is raised and disrespect and dimean the parent. i am sick of this. i as a parent should get to choose what and who is best for my child. not some stranger in a court room that has no idea what the true stories are.

    Comment by Corrine | November 14, 2011 | Reply

  24. I have been through all of this with my daughter and her boyfriend but I just kept praying that I would find a lawyer whom would possibly help me and mt situation.I went to talk to several few lawyers in the town I live and they all tod me that I would not be able to do anything,I even called social services numerous times on my daughter and the situation.In 2007 I went to alawyer and talked he filed my papers with the courts and thank GOD I was given permanment custody with liberal visitations t the parents which was very few. My daughter has another child by the boyfriend(whom is in and out of jail alot)In 2009 I filed papers with the same lawyer and I adopted my granddaughter as my child. She is now 12yrs old. My daughter is very much in my life and I spend alot of time with my grandson whom is 7. While I was trying everything I just kept praying to the LORD to protect my grandchildren and keep them safe. I never wanted to not have my daughterin my life. We do not always get along but onething we never ever out thew children in our differences. I have enough HEART to love GRANDCHILDREN and my DAUGHTER. May GOD help you and be with you when it feels like nothing is helping. Try to get along with the parent so it is alot easier for the child. GOD bless you all from my heart to yours.GOD BLESS

    Comment by Dianna Reynolds | January 5, 2012 | Reply

  25. I am a grandparent who’s daughter will not let me see my grandchildren. She is going by what the husband says. He is angry because he is not longer welcome into our home because he did something we felt was immorally wrong. So now his feelings are hurt and he left my daughter because we can’t let things go. So now he is back and they wont let us see our grandson and grand daughter. We have taken her in every time she left her husband which is 4 times. I he would stay with me at least three days a week. And my grand daughter would stay with at least once a week. She is 10. She is in school. Now this little boy has no idea why his parents aren’t letting him come to our house. i have some concerns to. They both were informants, and I feel they have put these children’s lives in danger and theirs. There is more to this but I can’t say because i feel it would put me and my husbands lives in danger. i just don’t know what to do.

    Comment by fred | February 8, 2012 | Reply

  26. I am 8 months pregnant with my first son. My husband of 2 1/2 years recently left our home to live with his mother, step-father, and sister. There is bad blood between his mother, sister, step-father and I, and I haven’t spoke with them since before I was pregnant. To my knowledge, my husband had not seen or spoke with them either. My husband’s mother has spent the last 3 years going to court trying to get custody of her other grandchildren (through my husband’s sister) but has been un-succesful because of CPS standards, and the children’s mother has been in and out of jail, rehab, and none of them can provide any stability for the children. I do NOT want my child raised around someone who manipulates my child into saying and doing things that I find immoral, as well as interfering with his safety, as the sister “an informant,” has upset many people who have threatened her and her children’s lives because she has sent many people to prison or jail. I have NEVER accepted any help from them throughout my pregnancy, and have never contacted them for anything at all. My husband and I are not speaking right now, and I have no idea if there is any reconsiliation in store for us, or if a divorce is in the near future. When my husband left, I told him that 2 things would never change. 1.) His mother would never have another opportunity to step into my life and manipulate me, and 2.) I would go to my grave to ensure that she would NOT ruin the life of my son, he would never know the pain she has caused her other grand-children. His last words to me were to go ahead and start planning my funeral. I have a wonderful relationship with my parents, who are very excited for their first grand-son. I have worked the same great full-time job for almost 4 years, with benefits for my entire family, and know that it WILL be difficult, but I do not believe that anyone will be able to raise my son better than I can. Please help. How do I protect my son legally?

    Comment by Datina | April 1, 2012 | Reply

  27. im a Canadian, ive got a steady job, my girlfriend lives in the states and is in this whole pointless crap slinging contest with her 2 1/2 yearold daughter … the genetic father isnt interested in the child (you seriously couldnt pay him to give a damn), but the grandparents have threatened legal action if she so much as goes on holiday with the child … theyve got another grandkid and it just looks like theyre walking over my poor girl, because the other kids mother is a control freak.

    I can take care of them both up here, whereas i cannot guarantee that in the states – hell, the state the economy is in down there i doubt id even find a job.
    the grandparents live with their two layabout sons, one of them is just out of a divorce the other is my girl’s Ex – while both have jobs … again you couldnt pay the genetic father to care about the kid and his parents do any of the watching when she is there under the guise of visiting the father, hes “always broke” and currently he does not pay child support … frankly i think my girl is being too nice to him he ruined her life, so she should at least make things difficult for him, from all accounts they rent the basement from the grandparents and have been threatened with eviction because the basement is a pig-sty.

    in addition to that, there are also two elderly women in the house that the grandparents take care of … one of whom is reported to need dialysis on a regular basis, i believe both of them are in their 70’s or 80’s and i again raise the question, should this little girl be controlled by grandparents who already have so much to take care of?
    is there enough there to use against them?
    or do i really have to sacrifice the ability to take care of them, to be with them … to convenience these people when theyve threatened legal action for her trying to introduce the child to me?

    Comment by Soban | June 22, 2012 | Reply

  28. For all you grandparents out there, unless the grandchild is being neglected and/or abused (and you have solid proof of this). Then you have absolutely NO right to DEMAND anything!! You had your chance to raise your children. You have no rights to dictate how your grandchildren are raised. Also, if you can’t show the parents respect, why would they want you to spend time with THEIR children? My goodness, reading these posts make me want to vomit. Just because your child had a child, doesn’t mean you have a “right” to that child. That “grandchild” is a PERSON, not a comodity!!! Family has no more “right” to be in a person’s life than a stranger. Sharing a gene with another human does not equal being a good person to be around. My own mother has never seen my children, no do I ever plan on letting her. Family doesn’t mean diplomatic immunity!!

    Comment by Nonie Andrews | July 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Your a real piece of work!!!!!! Its people like you that makes me sick!!!!!!

      Comment by Lonnie | August 6, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you for saying this beautifully. My dad didnt get to raise me and now hes trying to take my children and succeeding cause he knows everyone in the system, i am a great mother and i wish he would quit trying to buy my children and their love!

      Comment by d | September 14, 2012 | Reply

    • For all you parents who forbid your parents to see your children. You need to grow up and stop using your children as pawns. That is against everything that is good for your children. I feel it is a form of abuse when it happens over adult issues from the past and has no bearing on the present. Many of these cases are not about what is good for the grands. It’s about a parent of children who can’t let the past go and stop punishing your parents by using your children. Every case needs to be heard and every parent and grand should present their proof they are of good character,. Why punish your children for what you and Mommy have going.

      Comment by Betty Vickers | January 7, 2013 | Reply

  29. I’m having an issue with seeing my grand children. My daughter passed away in 2010 and she had 2 children..6 and 4. She was married and her husband was a wonderfull father so I saw noproblem with him raising them,we were allowed to see them whenever, infact we saw them daily. Well a year after her death he began seeing someone and yes i took it hard but all I cared about was the kids and he was beginning to limit our time with them. He began having the children call her parents grandma and papaw and we didnt see them for weeks on end. A few months into the relationship he moves into her resident but decided that he needed to make a life with her and see if it was going to work out with her and her children so he left the kids with his mother. His mother recently went to legal aide and got “custody” of the kids for school and medical reasons and shes limiting me seeing the kids..to when ever she doesnt have something to do or when she needs a break. Can i get legal visitions so i have aa sit time to see my grand kids on siit day? Any advise is welcomed.

    Comment by cathy | August 10, 2012 | Reply

  30. I am going through a dna case. I got my daughter taken away by her father. Hes now keeping heraway from her grandparents on my side. Me and my daughter lived wuth my mother for 2 years and a few months. I was still in high school plus i worked. So while i was at work my mother was her babysitter the entire time. Can this give my mom grandparent rights to my daughter?

    Comment by natasha | September 5, 2012 | Reply

  31. I want to know if there is anything I can do about my situation.. My aunt has custody of her two grandchildren. They aren’t necessarily in immediate physical danger, however they are Not being parented properly. The eight yr old is at another family members home in wich they drink excessively, and allow their 16 yr old to drink… And the 12yr old is starting to hangout with the wrong crowd.. She brought merijuana in the house, and disappeared for two days ending up two counties away. Their grandmother also continues to allow their drug addict mother to come to family functions and stay at their home, even after she has stollen her car and thousands of dollars from them. And the grandmothers attention is mostly spent on her ill husband. So the 12yr old is often left unattended with said bad influencing friends. there is so much to this story and I feel helpless.. What can I do?

    Comment by Danielle | September 18, 2012 | Reply

  32. I am currently 28 weeks pregnant with my son and his father passed away during the summer due to drugs. We were never married but his mother has been harrassing me since the death of her son. She demanded to know where i was at and who i was with everyday. I had invited her to doc app. in hopes that it would calm her down and maybe she would back off, however it just got worse. She never showed up for any of the earlier doc app. but she would insist that I drop everything to come see her all the time knowing I have a job, three daughters (from a previous marriage) and college . She then threatened to steal my baby once he is born, and then continued to say that she would take me to court because she said her lawyer told her that she has more rights because she had temporary guardianship of her son before he passed away. So in other words that she would get same rights as He would have. First off…I fear that she will take my baby and I have good reason to believe this due to her unstable behavior . she already has custody of three of her grandchildren that she allows to stay nights with those who abuse drugs the same drugs that took her sons life. I fear for my child and i am in process of getting a no contact order on her we have been to court but her lawyer is dragging it out because she plead not guilty even though I have evidence ontop of evidence showing her threat and harrassments. anyways she says that she can force me to have a DNA test done and that she will get visitations. Please help me ..any advice or info will be so much appreciated . thank you

    Comment by Kathy | November 6, 2012 | Reply

  33. I am a grandmother that has been raising my 3 grandsons age 5,6 and 8 for 8 years now the 8 yr old has a father in his live who has had visits and payed child support he is my ex son-n- law we have always got along well and always agreed upon everything but now he is with a woman and he want his son to live with him but after 8 years my grandson dont want to move out he wants to stay with his brothers we have a very good and stable home i am trying to get defacto custody but because he paid child support i may not get it but after 8 years of having him i feel like i am loosing my child , if parents cant take care of a child they shouldnt have them but they wait untill someone else has them 8 years and then want to step up and up root them from their stable home, Its just not right. MY HEART IS BREAKING

    Comment by Becky | November 21, 2012 | Reply

  34. I am a grandparent taking care of my 2 1/2 year old grandson all the time, He’s dad and his mother never call to check on him at all, no birthday presents, no christmas presents. The last time they had him was in july or
    August of 2012 and it is now Feb, 25 2013 and she calls wanting to see him, she has had her kids taken away over 3 times and is not very clean, One time when he came back when he was smaller he came back with staff infection with a big boil on his leg.and She said that she was going to get grandparent rights, Do you think she would have a chance getting them,, my grandson really don’t even know them and it would scare him to death to have to go with her.

    Comment by Tracy | February 25, 2013 | Reply

  35. Iam a father of a new born boy…he was born a month eairly and on a friday. My mom said she wanted him that next friday and the doctors said no outings but to the doctors appointments. Well when i told her this she has gotton very upset and now is threating to take him away from me and my girlfriend(babys mom), she has a full time job and due to the economy i lost mine. But iam serching for a new job. We have a stable roof over our heads and income. WE DONT DO DRUGS or drink. My mom has been dianosed with bipolar and its really bad. Can she take my kid away for me looking out for his health and following the doctors orders? I have two kids, one from a previous relationship that did end on bad terms but i get my daughter everyother weekend, please help

    Comment by chris | April 29, 2013 | Reply

  36. I have a problem, My step-daughter is mentally unstable and I’m not just saying that, her and her daughter (8) by her husband (yes she is still married but not with him) and her boyfriend and her boyfriend and her son (10 mos) were living with us, the boyfriend took very good care of the kids she did not, she wouldn’t even feed them, the father of the baby passed away 3 days before Christmas, they were living with us for about 3 months in the state of Illinois, she took her boyfriend vehicle (she did not have a driver license, or insurance, or registration, or legal license plates on it) and it was very unsafe to drive, put her kids in it and took off while we were laying down, we called the sheriff and she was picked up a hour away from us, police called us to come and get the kids, but by the time we had got there she had lied to them and made them feeling sorry for her that they let her bond herself out and gave the kids back to her they only charging with no driver license and no registration, they also let her leave in that unsafe truck, I tried to explain what was going on with her and they were not even interested in listening to us, she is now in Ky living from place to place dragging the children from place to place, I tried to have children and family service and sheriff department to do something about the situation and they will not do anything. She had my granddaughter out of school for a month, so I worked with the father of my granddaughter to get her away from her and finally did, but now I am worried about my grandson who is 10 months old, she doesn’t feed him properly or dress him properly for the weather, she also has a drug problem and because the sheriff showed up and said she was sober the sheriff said the children where fine..My grandson was suppose to start physical therapy here in IL he also has to have breathing treatments every once in a while she left the medication and the machine here so he is not getting them when he needs them, it seems she is not attending to his medical needs and because of the privacy law I can not get any information, does anyone know of anyway I can get my grandson from her before something happens to him? The system has failed us because they do not see the child in any danger, I asked them what about mental or emotional abuse and they were not interested, I have research and tried what ever I could to have my grandson removed from her, I am at a lost on what I can do, the child is a resident of Illinois where she was getting public aid for the children here in Illinois, I even thought about going and taking him from her but I am afraid of Ky getting me for kidnapping. As stated by so many grandparents don’t have any rights. My stepdaughter is good at playing the system because her mother had done the same thing to my step daughter while she was growing up, my step daughter is a habitual liar and great at acting to get people to feel sorry for her, her mother was too. My step daughter was molested by her mother boyfriend while the mother laid next to her drunk and passed out and we still could not get my step daughter, it was consider hear say in Ky and it’s very hard to prove a mother unfit in the state of Kentucky! Any help would be greatly appreciated and hopefully we can get these children to grow up to be productive people when they grow up and break this cycle of abuse from continuing to go on for the generation of children…Thank You

    Comment by Vicki | February 6, 2014 | Reply

  37. I let my daughter move in with me with her 2 year old daughter (my grandbaby). During this time my daughter needed some me time so i would watch the baby and it got to b where she would cry if me or my boyfriend would leave without her n she wouldn’t even want to leave with her daddy on the weekends. well a month ago i got sick n ask my daughter to watch her daughter, instead of doing that, she got her ready n took her to her daddys. now he won’t let me see her even though he says he will bring her over and I’ve even went by there n he wouldn’t answer the door. what r my rights? i miss her n I’m sure she misses us too.

    Comment by mary | March 23, 2014 | Reply


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