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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 law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. for assistance with grandparent custody and visitation.