As the grandparent of children impacted by divorce, you’re understandably concerned about your future role in your grandchildren’s lives. Thankfully, it may still be possible to maintain a strong relationship with your grandchildren. Read on to learn the basics of grandparent rights in Minnesota:

When Are Visitation Rights Awarded to Grandparents?

In Minnesota, it is generally presumed that grandparents will enjoy contact with their grandchildren during their own child’s visitation time. This is not always possible, however. For example, grandparents may seek visitation rights in court if their grandchild’s parent passes away. Likewise, grandparents can obtain visitation rights if their grandchildren have resided with them for at least twelve months. Visitation may also be possible for grandparents significantly involved in aspects of the dissolution process such as custody or parentage proceedings.

In addition to abiding by the restrictions outlined above, Minnesota courts only award grandparents and other third-party individuals visitation rights if they are deemed in the best interest of the child. Courts typically do not award grandparent visitation if they believe it will negatively impact parent-child relationships.

What About Grandparent Custody?

Grandparent custody is often confused with visitation, but they are entirely different matters. While many grandparents simply want to spend time with their grandchildren, some may seek custody if they feel that parent custody could prove harmful.

In Minnesota, grandparent custody cases typically fall under the scope of third-party custody. To achieve custody, grandparents must demonstrate that children have been abandoned, neglected, or have otherwise suffered extraordinary circumstances that place grandparent custody above the court’s stated priority of maintaining strong parent-child relationships.

Divorce should not harm your relationship with your grandchildren. Look to the team at the Brown Law Offices for assistance with grandparent custody and visitation.

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Photo of Cynthia Brown Cynthia Brown

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served…

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003.

Cynthia has handled a wide variety of family law matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child protective services, orders for protection and harassment restraining orders. Many of her clients have also asked her to provide guidance concerning their estate planning needs.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor, public defender and criminal investigator. In addition to her family practice, Cynthia routinely represents clients facing criminal charges such as DWI, assault, theft and criminal sexual misconduct.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, ATV riding and spending time with family.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child Protective Services
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Bar Admission
  • Minnesota State Bar, 1998
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 1998
  • University of South Dakota, 1995
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Panel Attorney, Anoka County County Family Law Clinic
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper
  • Author, Family Law Forum
  • Author, Divorce Magazine