For many families, the time grandparents and grandchildren spend together is cherished and produces fond memories for all involved. Unfortunately, there are instances – whether due to divorce, the death of a parent, or family strife – where grandparents lose much or all visitation with their grandchildren. In such situations, grandparents sometimes turn to the courts to seek such visitation.
Under Minnesota law, visitation rights for grandparents are an extension of parental rights. Accordingly, if a parent has had his or her parental rights terminated, then the grandparents will likely have no visitation rights.
It is difficult for grandparents to be awarded time with a grandchild over the objections of parents; however, the court may do so under certain circumstances if it finds that visitation is in the best interests of the child AND that it will not interfere with the relationship between the parents and the child. As set forth in the Minnesota statutes, grandparents may be awarded visitation, if:
1. The child’s parent, who is also the child of the grandparents, is dead;
2. The child’s parents are, or in the past have been, involved in a divorce, legal separation, annulment, or determination of parentage action involving the child; or
3. The child has lived with the grandparents for a total period of twelve months or more, which do not need to be consecutive.
In any of these scenarios, the greater the extent and quality of the time the grandparents and grandchildren have spent together in the past, the more likely it is that the court will award visitation. Grandparent visitation can be a complex area and it is advisable to seek legal advice.
For assistance with grandparent visitation or other family law matters, call Kruse Family Law at 612.231.9865, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.