It is not at all uncommon for parents to reach out for help in raising their children. When military deployments, medical diagnoses, or other personal circumstances prevent a parent from being able to fully engage with their children, a grandparent is often the first person to step in to help the family. In these circumstances, is a grandparent guardianship appropriate?
Missouri law offers many tools for a grandparent to secure legal rights regarding his or her grandchildren:
- Grandparents may ask the court to order visitation in the following circumstances:
- When parents divorce, a grandparent may intervene in the action in order to secure visitation with their grandchildren.
- When a parent dies, his or her parents may ask the court to order visitation with the grandchildren if the surviving parent denies visitation.
- If the grandchildren have been residing with the grandparents for at least six months out of the two years prior to filing a petition.
- A grandparent has been denied reasonable visitation for at least ninety days.
- Parents can execute a power of attorney in favor of any adult (including grandparents). This document will identify specific parental rights – such as the ability to authorize medical procedures or make educational decisions – and grant them to the identified adult for a specified period of time.
- Any adult (including grandparents) can ask the court to be appointed as guardian of a minor child. This can be limited to a specific purpose, such as school registration or medical insurance coverage, or it can be a request for a more wide-reaching guardianship, to grant all the authority necessary for meeting a child’s day-to-day needs.
Is a Grandparent Guardianship Right for Me?
A good attorney will help assess your situation and determine your specific goals. If, for example, a grandparent only needs to be able to authorize medical procedures while a parent is out of the country, this can be accomplished with a simple power of attorney that does not require court intervention. Guardianships are costlier and time-consuming to achieve, but they can be appropriate when a parent has difficulty acknowledging that he or she needs help raising a child (or when a parent is no longer alive to consent to a grandparent’s appointment as legal guardian).
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Guardianship Attorney Today
If you have questions about obtaining a grandparents’ rights, experienced Missouri attorney Kenneth P. Carp can help determine whether a guardianship is right for you. Call (636) 947-3600 to schedule your consultation or contact us online.