Grandparent Visitation Rights in Minnesota

February 16, 2012 - by Eric Anderson

Sometimes, a falling out between a parent and a grandparent can have negative consequences for the grandparent-grandchild relationship.  Parents may decide to not let the grandparents see the grandchildren.  Courts are reluctant to interfere with how parents raise their children.  However, the Minnesota legislature has determined that the grandparent-grandchild relationship deserves some protection.

Grandparents are allowed to petition for reasonable visitation rights in three situations:

  1. Deceased Parent.  If the parent of the minor child is deceased, grandparent (parent of the deceased) visitation rights can be granted.
  2. Family Court Proceedings.  In nearly all family court proceedings (i.e. divorce, custody, parentage, etc.), while the child is still a minor, grandparents can request reasonable visitation rights.
  3. Residing with Grandparents.  If the minor child has resided with the grandparents for 12 months or more - and is removed from the home by the child's parents - then the grandparents can petition for reasonable visitation rights.

In all of the above situation, the court will only grant the petition (1) if the court finds that visitation will be in the minor child's best interests, and (2) if the visitation will not interfere with the parent-child relationship.  In the first two above situations, the court will also consider the amount of personal contact between the grandparents and the minor child prior to the petition.

Regarding interference with the parent-child relationship, parents cannot simply allege that visitation would interfere.  They must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that interference with the parent-child relationship would occur if grandparent visitation was granted by the court.  

If you have questions about seeking grandparent visitation, please seek the advice of a family law attorney.  

Disclaimer: No case or client-specific information shall be discussed on this website. The content provided is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions about divorce or custody in Minnesota , please seek the advice of an attorney.