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Grandparent Visitation Rights in Mississippi

January 18, 2012,

If you have a family member who has gone through a divorce or a custody dispute, you know that these types of cases can affect more than just the two individuals in the relationship. When children are involved in a divorce or custody matter in Mississippi, a realm of issues may arise. As a parent of one of the parties involved in this type of case, you may be wondering what rights you have to maintain your relationship with your grandchildren. The goal of the courts in addressing issues related to children is to provide for the best interest of each child. In Mississippi, grandparent visitation can be awarded by any court that has the authority to decide child custody matters. Most commonly, child custody matters are decided in Chancery courts.

Have you recently been denied access to visit with your grandchildren? If so, there may be a solution. There are several situations in Mississippi where grandparents may seek visitation. For example, if your child did not receive custody of his/her children or if your child's parental rights have been terminated, you may seek visitation with your grandchildren in the court that issued the divorce or custody decree. On the other hand, if your child has died, leaving your grandchildren in the custody of the other parent or another relative, you may seek visitation in the county where your grandchild lives.

If the previous situations do not apply to you, there still may be a chance to gain grandparent visitation rights. You may seek rights to visitation in chancery court. In this situation, you will be required to show that you have a "viable relationship" with your grandchild and that you are being unreasonably denied access to visit with your grandchild. In this situation, a viable relationship means that you have supported your grandchild financially in whole or in part for at least six (6) months prior to seeking grandparent visitation and that you have had frequent visitation with your grandchild, including occasional overnight visits, for a period of at least one (1) year prior to seeking visitation rights. You will also be required to show that your visitation with your grandchildren will be in their best interest. Judges want to provide a chance to maintain preexisting relationships between children and their grandparents as long as the relationship will benefit the children and not cause too much conflict among families.

To recap, grandparent visitation may be awarded in the following scenarios:

1. Your child has either not been granted custody of their child or their parental rights have been terminated (Type 1 visitation);
2. Your child is deceased (Type 1 visitation); or,
3. You previously have had a viable relationship with your grandchildren and your visitation with the children would be in your grandchild's best interest (Type 2 visitation).

Source: Miss. Code Ann. ยง93-16-3.

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Child Visitation Rights in Mississippi

February 17, 2011,

In Mississippi, "visitation" is the time a child spends with a noncustodial parent and is a very important subject for many parents involved in divorce or custody cases. For example, a parent who is not awarded sole or joint physical custody of his or her child still wants to be an important part of the child's life and spend as much time with that child as possible. Visitation should allow continued significant contact with the child under circumstances that foster a close relationship and bond.

In Mississippi, a noncustodial parent will normally be allowed visitation with his or her child. Absent danger or other potential detriment to the child, the chancery court will normally award "standard" or "liberal" unrestricted overnight visitation to a noncustodial parent. In Mississippi, this is two (2) weekends a month until Sunday afternoon, at least five weeks of summer visitation, and alternating holiday visitation. More or less may be awarded depending on the specific facts of the case. For example, the existence of unusual work schedules, extreme geographical distance between households or disruption to a child's routine may justify deviation from standard visitation.

It is important to remember that an Order or Agreement providing for visitation should be highly structured, clearly specifying all dates of visitation, the exact times of transfer and other arrangements including which party is to bear the cost of transportation for visitation. Ambiguous visitation provisions should be carefully avoided as they routinely result in continuing post-divorce litigation.

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