What are grandparents’ rights?

Family dynamics are hard.  There is no getting around that.  Grandparents who want to be a part of their grandchild’s life can feel powerless when an ex-spouse or a former girlfriend or boyfriend tries to limit their involvement.  Minnesota law provides grandparents some options so they can continue seeing and spending time with their grandchild.

Fortunately Minnesota Statute Chapter 275C allows grandparents to obtain their own court-ordered visitation in the following situations:

  1. Their son or daughter who is the parent of their grandchild is dead;
  2. The grandchild has lived with the grandparents for six months or more, which need not be consecutive, if the child is under three years of age;
  3. The grandchild has lived with the grandparents for one year or more, which need not be consecutive, if the child is three years of age or older; or
  4. The grandchildren’s parents are or in the past have been involved in a divorce, child custody, legal separation, annulment or parentage proceedings involving said grandchildren.

The grandparents must show to the judge it is in the best interests of the grandchild to have a relationship with them, but the judge must also weigh if the visitation would interfere in the parent’s relationship with the child.  The family dynamics are very influential if the grandparents and parents have bad blood between them.

Before considering bringing a case for grandparents’ rights, grandparents need to consider sitting down with an experienced family law attorney to discuss Minnesota Statute Chapter 257C, the family dynamics to put together a plan on how to proceed.  There may be options outside of court that provides grandparents a relationship with the grandchild.

Jessica Sterle

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