In Kentucky, "reasonable visitation rights" may be awarded to either paternal or maternal grandparents if the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child to do so. These visitation rights may even survive the termination of parental rights belonging to the grandparent's son or daughter, who is the father or mother of the child, if the court decides that visitation is in the child's best interest.
A grandparent whose child is deceased and who supplies child support for a grandchild can be awarded visitation rights that are the equivalent of a non-custodial parent's. Grandparents rights granted under this condition will not be terminated even if the parental rights of the grandparent's son or daughter are terminated.
Adoption ends grandparent visitation rights unless the adopting party is the stepparent and the grandparent's child has not suffered termination of parental rights.
An understanding of the appeals court case of Vibbert v. Vibbert is necessary for a complete understanding of grandparents' rights in Kentucky. This case, upheld in the Kentucky Supreme Court case of Walker v. Blair, says that even fit parents can make decisions that are not in the best interest of the child. The justices listed factors to be considered in determining whether grandparent visitation is in the child's best interest. These "Vibbert factors" include the following:
- The nature and stability of the relationship between the child and the grandparent
- The amount of time spent together
- The potential detriments and benefits to the child from granting visitation
- The effect visitation would have on the child's relationship with the parents
- The physical and emotional health of all the adults involved
- The stability of the child's living and schooling arrangements
- The preferences of the child.
See Kentucky statutes.
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