Do grandparents have a right to see grandchildren over a parent’s objections?

Children who have active grandparents in their lives are especially fortunate because they have even more loving adults in their lives.  Grandparents are not always valued by parents because they may feel threatened by their importance.  On the other hand, some grandparents feel they know best and they should be treated as another parent and given a significant amount of time with the children.

How does Minnesota law weigh and consider a grandparent’s role in a child’s life?  State law certainly values grandparents; however, the parents have the legal right to determine how much or how little the grandparents see and spend time with their grandchildren.

In 2000, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Troxel case which dealt with this very issue.  The ruling states in part “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder.”  Building off of this decision, the Minnesota appellate courts has issued decisions mirroring Troxel and its reasoning.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals found in the C.D.G.D. case “A parent has the fundamental right to make parenting decisions, including deciding who spends time with the child.  That right has long been recognized in common law and is constitutionally protected.”

In the end, federal and state law recognize the parent-child relationship is paramount and how they choose to raise their children – with or without grandparent involvement.  This is not to say in every circumstance grandparents must accept a limited role because in certain situations Minnesota law allows grandparents the ability to have time with their grandchildren which will be addressed in the next blog article.

Contact experienced family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle at (218) 722-2655 to schedule a consultation to discuss child custody, parenting time and grandparent’s rights.