Grandparent’s rights are important. When a life changing event occurs, such as a divorce, death of a child’s parent, or a paternity action, grandparents have a legal right under Kansas law, K.S.A. 23-3301, to request court-ordered visitation with their grandchild(ren). A grandparent must establish that they have had a substantial grandparent-grandchild relationship and that it would be in the best interests of the child, or children, for the court to order the same.
In order for a grandparent to establish, or prove, that a substantial relationship exists, a grandparent needs to show: 1.) The number of times they visited the child, or how often they have been involved in the child’s life; 2.) The events or activities that the grandparent attended or is involved in with the minor child and the frequency of that involvement; 3.) The frequency of contact that a grandparent has with the grandchild(ren), such as contact by telephone, text, email, etc.; 4.) The bond that a grandparent has with the grandchild, for instance, does the grandparent provide childcare for the child, or take care of the child on a regular basis.
Because Kansas courts recognize “parental preference”, meaning a parent’s right to deny third-party visitation, it is critical to prove to a court that visits would be in your grandchild’s best interests. Family courts give special weight to a parent’s opinion on visitation. In order to defeat this, you must show that a parent is being unreasonable in denying visitation with your grandchild.