Bezler Law Firm realizes that all children need as much love and stability as their extended families can provide. Grandparents, are often a welcoming force an integral part of the children’s lives. Bezler Law Firm works with grandparents to maintain or establish their visitation rights when access to grandchildren is being threatened or denied. They realize it is not only harmful for children to lose visitation with grandparents, it also violates grandparents’ rights in Missouri. If you are a grandparent who may be facing loss of visitation or contact with your grandchildren, Bezler Law Firm can help you obtain a visitation order through the family courts.
Under Missouri state law, a grandparent is the parent of a parent of a minor child, including a child who is or about to be adopted, or a child whose parent is deceased. Bezler Law Firm can help grandparents petition the court for visitation rights before, during or after a divorce or paternity action.
Grandparent visitation rights may be granted when one or more of the following situations exist:
- One or more of the child’s parent(s) have died
- The child’s parents are divorced
- A parent has abandoned the child
- The child was born to unmarried parents
- The child’s parents are still married, but one or more is using parental authority to deny visitation to the grandparents
As with all custody proceedings, grandparents must prove that visitation is in the best interests of the child. Bezler Law Firm represents grandparents who want to prove to the courts that establishing regular visitation is in the best interests of their grandchildren.
Missouri law requires the following considerations for grandparent visitation rights:
- Whether the grandparents are willing to encourage a close relationship between the child and the parent or parents
- The physical and mental health of the child
- The physical and mental health of the grandparents
- Any evidence of domestic violence, including violence between parents
- Anything else that might be considered relevant, including parents’ wishes
Additional Considerations for grandparent visitation orders:
The court may order a guardian ad litem for the child at the grandparent’s expense if it believes the grandparents can afford it. Like many states, Missouri presumes a blood parent is the best parent for a child unless there are special circumstances. Those special circumstances include evidence of abuse or neglect by the parent, as well as when the child is already in the custody of a non-parent. Bezler Law Firm has helped grandparents establish visitation rights in these situations and more.
Bezler Law Firm Cares about Your Family Situation
Belzer Law firm suggests a few of the following tips to help grandparents develop and maintain a close relationship during grandparent visitation:
1. Listen First and Share your Wisdom Next
Be a listening ear and teach by example. Sometimes the most important thing a child needs is for someone to be close especially when they are in need. When a child knows you are listening, they will be more open to your insights and will more readily respond when you do make corrections. A few simple words of advice or quick, “don’t do that,” works more effectively when you offer a listening ear first.
Instructing on issues of right and wrong are much more effective when done in a quiet moment, after the trauma has passed. Offering an experience from your own life can be extremely valuable. Let them know how you learned to avoid repeating certain mistakes. If you have not made a particular mistake, tell of someone who did. If necessary, invent a whopper with a horrendous outcome in order to give a memorable way to make better choices. Always share your values.
2. Take them Outside
When you have your grandchildren over, take them outside and play whiffle ball, dodge ball, or tag and let them experience games you used to play. Most children spend too much time with video games and television and are seldom outdoors.
If you camp or hike, take your grandchildren with you. Short hikes to get ice cream are fun, and backyard camping is fun too. Climb a tree or a large rock, walk along a stream, or skip rocks on a lake. Take your grandchildren on vacation and show them mountains, forests and the ocean. Drive them from coast to coast or across the state where they can experience wide-open spaces. Enjoy the journey together.
3. Be Interested in Their Interests
While you may not be an expert in sports, the latest teenage fashions or the hottest new video games, show an interest and be teachable. By becoming a willing student, you show your grandchildren you can learn and stay relatively current at any age. Do a little research of your own on their particular interests and you will surprise them. It helps grandchildren to know that you are thinking of them and shows that you care.
Coach their sports teams if you are able and have time. If you don’t coach, be sure to find a coach who encourages rather than discourages. Take them to their sporting events and practices and cheer loudly. Definitely take them for ice cream afterwards. Tell them funny or meaningful stories about your glory days. Let them know about your sports heroes and why you admire them.
4. Share Treasured Keepsakes
Display the things you are proud of or that give them insight into what you were like when you were younger — a plaque, a collage of medals, a painting, anything of yours that you’d like your grandchildren to see. Keep photo albums available on a prominent bookshelf or a coffee table. Your own children will enjoying reminiscing, and grandchildren love seeing old pictures of their parents.
Enjoy your grandchildren!