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Sep 29 2021

Grandparents Rights in a Minnesota Divorce

Grandparents and grandchildren enrich one another’s lives in multiple and important ways, and if you fear your relationship with your grandchildren is in jeopardy – or if you’ve already been cut out of their lives – you should know that Minnesota recognizes third-party custodial rights, and they may apply in your situation. If you have concerns about visitation rights with your grandchildren, it’s time to consult with an experienced Minnesota family law attorney. 

If Your Child Has Died

If you’ve lost your child and are being denied visitation with his or her children (by their other parent), you can go to court in advocacy of a set visitation schedule (as if you were the children’s other parent). In most other situations in which you are being denied time with your grandchildren, you can seek visitation rights via the State of Minnesota’s third-party custody laws. 

While you do have rights as a grandparent, the legalities are complex, and the best path forward is with a dedicated family law attorney on your side. 

The Best Interests of the Children

Minnesota courts make every decision that relates to children with the best interest of those children in mind. As such, the court will take your current (or prior, if you have been cut out of your grandchildren’s lives) relationship with your grandchildren into consideration, and all the following can play a role:

  • The amount of time you spent with your grandchildren
  • How often you had your grandchildren for overnight visits
  • The enriching experiences you provided for your grandchildren
  • The amount of time you spent babysitting your grandchildren
  • The bond you have formed with your grandchildren

The court recognizes the close connection that grandchildren often have with their grandparents, and if you can demonstrate that you have a significant and substantial relationship with your grandchildren, the court may be moved to allow this relationship to continue growing and developing by granting a visitation schedule (in correspondence with the best interests of your grandchildren). 

Seeking Custody

If your grandchildren’s parents are – for any reason – unable to adequately care for them, there is a legal mechanism for seeking custody (known as third-party custody). Doing so, however, is legally challenging. The burden of proof regarding the unsuitability of your grandchildren’s parents is on you. Common allegations include:

  • Neglect 
  • Disregard for the children’s well-being
  • Physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Endangerment 
  • Serious alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Other kinds of extraordinary circumstances

Don’t Delay Discussing Your Concerns with an Experienced Minneapolis Family Law Attorney Today

If you’re being cut out of your grandchildren’s lives, you are going through an emotionally trying time, but it’s important to recognize that you have rights and that the compassionate Minneapolis family law attorneys at Atticus Family Law are committed to skillfully advocating for a favorable case resolution that benefits you and your grandchildren. Your rights as a grandparent are important, so please don’t wait to contact us today for more information about how we can help.

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