Grandparent Visitation Rights In Missouri
I. Starting Points II. Controlling Statutes
III. Controlling Cases IV. Periodical Reviews
V. Litigation Aids and Forms
In Missouri, grandparents may have the right to court ordered visitation to their
grandchildren. This research pathfinder is a selective guide to assist an inexperienced
attorney in determining whether a grandparent has grandchild visitation rights. It also
provides practice aids to help an attorney in the beginning stages of litigation. This
pathfinder begins with a basic overview of the subject by looking at applicable
looseBleafs, treatises and other secondary sources found in the University of Missouri
Library System. It then lists controlling statutes and case law followed by interpretive law
review articles. Finally, the pathfinder ends by suggesting several practice aids geared
toward helping an attorney prepare for litigation.
III. STARTING POINTS
American Law Reports 5th ed., by George L. Blum
Location: KF132 .A535 (71 ALR 5th 99)
This annotation is a comprehensive collection and analysis of the cases that determine the
visitation rights of grandparents in all 50 states. It has a table of contents and index for easy
navigation and is
updated with pocket parts
Elderlaw: Advocacy for the Aging 2d
Location: KF390 .A4 K7 1993 (MU Campus Only) or (Westlaw: 2 Elderlaw Advoc.
Aging Sec. 25:15 (2d ed) Family Rights and Responsibilities
This two volume set is a comprehensive reference on the practice of elder law. Section 25
explains the history and rights grandparents have developed in visitation rights. It also outlines
state statutes dealing with the issue. Furthermore, it contains an appendix that includes tables of
WEST KEY Numbers, statutes and cases. It is updated annually with a cumulative supplement.
American Jurisprudence 2d ed.
Location: KF8933 .A434 (24A Am. Jur. 2d 977) Divorce and Separation
Short three paragraph overview of the visitation rights of grandparents. It lists helpful law
reviews and cases in jurisdictions outside of Missouri. It is updated with a pocket part.
Missouri Practice Series Family Law Section
Location: KFM7880 .M5 (21 Mo. Prac. Family Law Sec 2 ed.)
Section 15.6 contains a Missouri specific interpretation of statute and case law governing
grandparent visitation rights. Very practical for basic understanding of the law.
Understanding Family Law 3d by John De Witt Gregory, Peter N. Swisher and Sheryl L.
Location: KF505 .G734
This is a one volume book designed for giving law students understanding of family law
principles. Pages 491-93 are dedicated to grandparent visitation rights.
Grandparent Visitation: A Legal Resource Manual by M. Kristine Taylor Warren
Location: KF547.A75 G7 1989
This work was written by the American Bar Association to Aprovide up-to-date information on
statutory and case law, existing legal literature, case representation, judicial practice, the role of
experts and the use of mediation.@
Grandparent Visitation Rights: A Legal Research Guide
Location: KF 241. D65 T39
This guide appears to be something similar to this pathfinder and may offer additional resources.
Unfortunately, somebody has either swiped or misplaced the UMKC Law Library guide and it
could not be found for further analysis.
IV. CONTROLLING STATUTES
452.402 Revised Missouri Statutes (2006)
This statute determines when grandparents are granted visitation rights and when said rights are
terminated. It also details when attorney fees and costs are assessed and to whom. Finally, the
statute gives the court power to issue necessary orders to enforce any visitation decrees.
452.403 Revised Missouri Statutes (2006)
This statute allows a court, upon request, to order mediation between parent and grandparent
when grandparent visitation has been denied.
V. CONTROLLING CASES
Troxel v. Granville
530 U.S. 57 (2000)
This Supreme Court case held that a Washington statute allowing Aany person@ to petition for
visitation to be unconstitutionally broad and an intrusion upon the rights of parents in making
decisions concerning their children. The law review articles that follow argue that the Missouri
Statute permitting grandparents the right to petition for visitation is also unconstitutional since it
infringes on the parent=s right to have final say over the lives of the child.
Blakely v. Blakely
83 S.W. 3d 537 (Mo. 2002)
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the Missouri Grandparent Visitation statute was not
unconstitutional and that a trial court may grant grandparents visitation rights under the
conditions listed in the statute. The general rule that natural parents have a primary right to the
custody of their children is controlling unless the welfare of the child is at issue.
VI. PERIODICAL LAW REVIEW
The following two law review articles examine the constitutionality of the Missouri Supreme
Court opinion in Blakely v. Blakely. They both submit that Blakely is unconstitutional and that
grandparents do not have a right to visitation.
Blakely and Missouri=s Grandparent Statute: An Abridgment of Parents Constitutional
Rights? by Michael S. Hamlin
Location: Westlaw: 68 Mo.L.Rev 691 (2003).
Constitutional Questions Regarding Grandparent Visitation and Due Process Standards
Location: Westlaw: 60 Mo.L.Rev. 195 (1995).
Family Law: Whose Kids Are They, Anyway?: Analyzing Troxel v. Granville and the
Current State of Oklahoma=s Grandparent Visitation Statute by Natania M. Soto
Location: Westlaw: 54 Okla. L. Rev. 413
This article looks at Oklahoma=s grandparent visitation statute (which is similar to Missouri=s
statute) and concludes that the US Supreme Court ruling in Troxel is current in as much as it
pertains to intact, fit families, where harm to the child cannot be demonstrated.
VII. LITIGATION AIDS AND FORMS
American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts 3d ed.
Location: Westlaw: 69 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 281
Provides the elements which must be establish before a grandparent=s visitation claim can be
Causes of Action 2d ed., by Elizabeth Williams
Location: Westlaw: 17 COA 2d 331 (2006)
Extensive reference providing articles and case studies with a section focusing on grandparent
visitation rights. Section 38 lays out the elements needed in a grandparent visitation hearing. It
includes an Index of Key Terms and Phrases and provides detailed research and procedure
guidelines. Finally, it is updated with a cumulative supplement as needed.
Child Custody Practice and Procedure by Linda D. Elrod
Location: KF547 .E472
This loose-leaf single volume is a comprehensive how-to-do-it for child custody and visitation
issues. Chapter 4 examines the best interest of the child requirement and chapter 7 examines
Bender=s Family Law Litigation by Lawrence P. Hampton
Location: KF505 .F354 1991
Provides law and practice information for custody litigation. Section 35 looks closer at the best
interest of the child and helps an attorney prepare for litigation in general.
Missouri Family Law CLE 6th ed. (2004)
Location: On Reserve at UMKC Law Library
Section 9.24 is dedicated to grandparent visitation and is intended to be used by attorneys
practicing in the field.
Family Law Litigation in Missouri by Bruce F. Hilton
Location: KFM7900.Z9 F36 1994
This resource gives litigation help to attorneys practicing family law in Missouri. It gives
instruction on how to run the initial interview to how to prepare for court. This is a good
instructional resource for the beginning lawyer without litigation experience.
Bender Family Law Litigation Guide with Forms
Location: KF505 .F354 1991
AThis is the only publication available that helps prepare you for every phase of matrimonial and
family law preBtrial practice and related court proceedings.@ Section 35.04(6) gives coverage of
procedural and evidentiary rules and contains checklist forms for petitioners.
Missouri Domestic Relations Forms Practice by John A. Turcotte, Jr. and Michael C.
Location: KFM7894 .A65 T87 (2002)
Section 3.18 of this one volume loose-leaf has sample forms for petitions dealing with
grandparent visitation rights. Because it is Missouri specific, it is especially helpful to Missouri
This pathfinder was prepared by:
Nathan G. Beard 3L