Divorce is much more common today than it was 50 years ago. When spouses divorce, custody decisions regarding the children in their marriage are made, including who will be the primary caretaker and where the children will live. What about the rights of the grandparents to visit with their grandchildren after the divorce? What if the divorced or widowed spouse does not want to allow children to visit with the grandparents? This question has been raised several times in Minnesota and so a law was passed under Minnesota Statute Section 518.1752 that addresses the issue. Minnesota district courts will consider a grandparent’s request for rights of grandparents to visitation when their son or daughter has passed away and may grant rights if it is in the best interest of the child and the visitation would not interfere with the existing parent and child relationship. In determining whether to grant visitation, the district court takes into consideration how often the grandparents and the child and grandchild had prior to the child passing away. Typically, the district court wants to see that there was already an established relationship and that continuing such a relationship is in the best interest of the child.
Testimony is typically the evidence used to support a claim of an established relationship and district courts will want to see regular visits and a relationship between grandparent and grandchild. A district court may examine letters and other correspondence between the grandparents and grandchild. Also, if a child is at least 12 years old, his or her opinion in the matter is taken into consideration as well as a preference for visitation with grandparents or not.
Additionally, grandparents may apply for visitation rights in situations where a parent has not passed away. This commonly occurs when the parent is getting a divorce or battling over custody. Applications may also be made in situations where a minor grandchild has lived with the grandparents for a year or more. If a parent then decides to remove the grandchild from the grandparents’ home, the district court will consider granting visitation rights. Again the district court will take into consideration the best interests of the grandchild and whether the visitation would interfere with the parent-child relationship by looking at the personal contact that existed between the grandparents and the grandchild prior to applying for visitation rights. The district court will also take into consideration the reasons for which the parent is denying visitation. No district court is going to award visitation rights to any grandparents who may be a bad influence on the child such as those that engage in criminal enterprises.
Outside of these limited circumstances grandparents do not have visitation rights to see their grandchildren. The State of Minnesota is reluctant to get overly involved in a family’s business in how they choose to raise their children. This area of law is ever-changing as grandparent issues arise and blended families include step-grandparents and step-grandchildren. Anyone seeking rights to visitation should contact a family law attorney for advice specifically suited to their family situation.
“ We feel we received the legal help we needed at a reasonable price and in a timely manner. ”
“ Kelly listened carefully to my concerns, provided several solutions, and helped me choose the best for my situation. ”
“ Great Law Heritage. Hometown feel. Honest and forthright. ”
“ Courteous, attention to detail, prompt responses. ”
“ We appreciated your service and for making it all so easy for us to understand. ”
“ Thanks so much for your help with the cabin. Great experience and smooth transaction. Highly recommended. ”
“ You (Kelly) and your staff have always been polite, constantly courteous, attentive, more than polite, attentive, prompt, and very informed. We were very happy we selected the Klun Law Firm. We feel our family will be in caring hands when that time comes that the Klun Law Firm will be needed. ”
“ Klun Law Firm took care of all our estate planning needs including setting up cabin trust that required the expertise they offer. ”
“ As a small town, we are blessed to have such a high-quality law firm with really good people working there. ”
“ Your folks’ kindness, communication, and expertise were invaluable during an extremely difficult time for my family. Thank you! ”
“ Appreciate all the help given to our family to navigate what needed to be done. ”
“ Everyone was so gracious and understanding. Did exactly as needed and provided me with all the information I needed to make the proper decisions. ”
“ Excellent service from start to finish. I highly recommend the Klun Law Firm! ”
“ Thanks, Kelly, for being so flexible! You were very accommodating and did a great job for us! ”
“ Kelly’s prompt and attentive service in preparing our commercial lease gave us peace of mind. ”
“ Klun Law Firm was helpful, efficient and affordable. We were very satisfied! We have recommended their services to our friends and family. ”