27th Feb 2017
If my child is deceased, has his/her parenting rights terminated, or is estranged from my family, do I as a grandparent have any rights to visitation with my grandchildren? Ideally, grandparents are able to spend time with grandchildren during their own child’s parenting time. Unfortunately, for reasons stated earlier, some grandparents are denied this accessibility. Fortunately for those grandparents that fall under that category, Minnesota law allows grandparents to obtain their own court-ordered parenting time in the following situations: 1) their own child and parent of their grandchildren is dead; 2) the grandchild has lived with the grandparents for 12 months or more; or 3) the grandchildren’s parents are or in the past have been involved in dissolution, child custody, legal separation, annulment or parentage proceedings involving said grandchildren.
If any one of these circumstances apply to you as a grandparent, and you are interested in motioning the court for grandparent visitation, you must show that grandparent visitation rights would be in the best interests of the children, and would not interfere with the grandchildren’s relationship with their parents. When determining whether grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the children, the court will use several factors in making its decision. Those factors include, but are not limited to, 1) the preservation of relationship between the child and other family members, 2) the preservation of the parent-child bond, 3) the requirement that a child should be properly cared for and kept safe, 4) the preference of the child, and 5) the mental and physical needs of the child. One of the more important considerations is the extent and quality of the grandparents relationship with the grandchildren. The more extensive and positive the contact, the more likely it is that grandparent visitation will be awarded.
Being able to spend time with their grandchild is very important to many grandparents. In situations where grandparents fear they may not be allowed to spend time with their grandchild, it is important to have an advocate who understands the law and can present a strong case to the judge. If you would like to explore your rights to grandparent visitation, please contact Anderson Larson to set up an appointment with a family law attorney.