Mississippi Grandparents Visitation Law


Divorce – Grandparents Visitation – Mississippi

Jurisdiction of court to grant grandparents visitation rights with minor child.
Any court of this state which is competent to decide child custody matters shall have jurisdiction to grant visitation rights with a minor child or children to the grandparents of such minor child or children as provided in this chapter.
Chap. 016, SEC. 93-16-1.

Who may petition for visitation rights; when; court in which to file petition.
Whenever a court of this state enters a decree or order awarding custody of a minor child to one (1) of the parents of the child or terminating the parental rights of one (1) of the parents of a minor child, or whenever one (1) of the parents of a minor child dies, either parent of the child’s parents who was not awarded custody or whose parental rights have been terminated or who has died may petition the court in which the decree or order was rendered or, in the case of the death of a parent, petition the chancery court in the county in which the child resides, and seek visitation rights with such child.

Any grandparent who is not authorized to petition for visitation rights pursuant to subsection (1) of this section may petition the chancery court and seek visitation rights with his or her grandchild, and the court may grant visitation rights to the grandparent, provided the court finds:

(1) That the grandparent of the child had established a viable relationship with the child and the parent or custodian of the child unreasonably denied the grandparent visitation rights with the child; and

(2) That visitation rights of the grandparent with the child would be in the best interests of the child.

For purposes of subsection (3) of this section, the term “viable relationship” means a relationship in which the grandparents or either of them have voluntarily and in good faith supported the child financially in whole or in part for a period of not less than six (6) months before filing any petition for visitation rights with the child or the grandparents have had frequent visitation including occasional overnight visitation with said child for a period of not less than one (1) year.

Any petition for visitation rights under subsection (2) of this section shall be filed in the county where an order of custody as to such child has previously been entered. If no such custody order has been entered, then the grandparents’ petition shall be filed in the county where the child resides or may be found. The court shall on motion of the parent or parents direct the grandparents to pay reasonable attorney’s fees to the parent or parents in advance and prior to any hearing, except in cases in which the court finds that no financial hardship will be imposed upon the parents. The court may also direct the grandparents to pay reasonable attorney’s fees to the parent or parents of the child and court costs regardless of the outcome of the petition.
Chap. 016, SEC. 93-16-3

Parties to proceeding; discretion of court in granting, enforcing, modifying or terminating rights.
All persons required to be made parties in child custody proceedings or proceedings for the termination of parental rights shall be made parties to any proceeding in which a grandparent of a minor child or children seeks to obtain visitation rights with such minor child or children; and the court may, in its discretion, if it finds that such visitation rights would be in the best interest of the child, grant to a grandparent reasonable visitation rights with the child. Whenever visitation rights are granted to a grandparent, the court may issue such orders as shall be necessary to enforce such rights and may modify or terminate such visitation rights for cause at any time.
Chap. 016, SEC. 93-16-5

Application of chapter.
This chapter shall not apply to the granting of visitation rights to the natural grandparents of any child who has been adopted by order or decree of any court unless:

one (1) of the legal parents of such child is also a natural parent of such child; or

one (1) of the legal parents of such child was related to the child by blood or marriage prior to the adoption. This chapter shall apply to persons who become grandparents of a child by virtue of adoption.

Chap. 016, SEC. 93-16-7