How Minnesota Law Protects Your Relationship With Your Grandchildren
It’s usually true that grandparents would do anything for their grandkids. At our Elk River, Minnesota, law firm, we often hear from heartbroken grandparents who worry about how family situations will affect their rights as grandparents. If you’re interested in protecting your rights as a grandparent in Minnesota, here are some things you should know.
When Parents Are Limiting Contact With the Grandkids
When a parent has died or when there has been a divorce, grandparents sometimes find themselves disconnected from their grandkids. Suddenly, a parent may decide that the grandkids can no longer visit.
In cases like these, where parents are restricting contact with grandparents, Minnesota law allows grandparents to request “reasonable visitation rights.” To do this, grandparents must make an official request within an existing family court proceeding such as those pertaining to:
- Dissolution of marriage
- Child custody
- Legal separation
Minnesota courts will usually order reasonable visitation if they find two things to be true. First, they must determine that visitation with the grandparents would be in the best interests of the child. Second, they must determine that the visitation would not interfere with the parent-child relationship.
To determine the best interests of the child, the court considers the amount of contact between the child and the grandparents before the court proceeding. For example, consider a situation where a child has lived with their grandparents for 12 months or more and is then removed from the home by their parents. Here, the grandparents may request reasonable visitation as long as it wouldn’t interfere with the parent-child relationship.
Grandparents’ Right to Custody in Minnesota
Every family is different, and the challenges they face are deeply personal. There are many reasons why grandparents may seek custody of their grandchildren. The child’s parents may have substance abuse issues, be incarcerated or have mental health issues that prevent them from adequately caring for the child.
If a child’s parents cannot provide the attention and care the child requires, a grandparent can bring a motion for custody. They may ask for legal custody, physical custody, or parenting time with the child.
There are a few requirements that the grandparent must meet before this can happen. There must be a significant and substantial relationship between the child and the grandparents before a petition for custody is brought. The court then typically compares the competing interests between the parties.
Grandparents have the burden of proof to show the court that certain factors are met. For example, they may need to demonstrate that the child has been abandoned, neglected, and or that the parent has shown disregard for the child’s well-being.
Get Grandparents’ Rights Advice From Our Experienced Attorneys
If you’re looking for ways to protect your relationship with your grandchildren, it’s important to talk with an experienced attorney. At White & Associates, we offer free consultations to all new clients.
To get started, call our Elk River, Minnesota, law office at 763-241-0477 or contact our family law attorneys online. Our highly skilled team will schedule a time to discuss your situation so we can take action to protect your rights.