Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in Minnesota Family Law

GrandfatherGrandparents are important in a child’s life.  A child cannot have too many loving adults that think he or she is the most wonderful kid in the world.

Unfortunately,  in a family law dispute between parents,   some families have a tendency to line up against one another.  Often times the Grandmother “Hatfield vs McCoy” attitude of litigating parents leaves grandparents out in the cold with little or no contact with the grandchild.

Minnesota provides a remedy to help  a grandparent secure grandparent visitation with his or her grandchild.

In any divorce or separation legal proceeding that is filed with the court, the court is authorized to make an order granting visitation rights to grandparents under Minn. Stat. Section 257.08, subdivision 2.  ( Minn. Stat. Section 518.1752 entitled “Grandparent Visitation.” )

The Minnesota Statute referenced ( 257.08) is entitled “Rights of Visitation to Unmarried Persons”. The unmarried person label is a fancy way of saying a minor child.

The statute has several provisions as follows:

  • Deceased Parent–If a parent is deceased, the grandparents may be granted reasonable visitation if the court finds that the visitation would be in the child’s best interests and would not interfere with the surviving parent child relationship.  The court will review the amount of personal contact between the grandparent and the child and the surviving parent and the deceased parent
  • Family Court Proceedings– which include divorce, custody, parentage, or legal separation, the court may grant reasonable grandparent visitation if the court finds that (1) visitation would be in the child’s best interests; and, (2) grandparents visitation would not interfere with the parent-child relationship.  The court will consider the amount of personal contact between the parents and the grandparents and the child.
  • Child Residing With Grandparent– If a child has resided with a grandparent or a great-grandparent for a period of 12 months or more, and is removed from the grandparent’s or great-grandparent’s home by a parent, then the court may order grandparent visitation if it is in the child’s best interests and will not interfere with the parent-child relationship.
  • Exception for Adopted Children– If a child has been adopted by a person other than a grandparent or a step-parent, then this section of law allowing for grandparent’s visitation is not applicable.  All rights are lost to a grandparent if the child is adopted.
  • Grandparent Visitation with Adopted Child–a grandchild adopted by a step-parent may ask the court for visitation with the child if: (1) the grandparent is the parent of a deceased parent of the child; (2) or the grandparent is the parent of a child whose parental rights have been terminated by a decree of adoption according to Minn. Stat. Section 259.57, Subd. 1 , which is adoption under guardianship or licensed agency;  and the court determines that the requested visitation is in the child’s best interests and would not interfere with the parent-child relationship.

How does a grandparent get started?  Mediation is the first step. Try to resolve any differences through a mediated settlement agreement that becomes  a court order. If mediation doesn’t produce a mutual agreement, then a grandparent has to petition the court for an order granting visitation. The grandparent must prepare a petition to the court and supporting affidavit that includes all of the facts and circumstances of the case with an eye towards meeting the statutory requirements.  The opposing party then responds with his or her reasons why there should be no grandparent visitation. The court  reviews all the court papers called pleadings. The court may have a hearing.  After the hearing and reviewing all of the pleadings, the court issues an order granting the request or denying the request or issuing an order that is somewhere in-between.

About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: