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Grandparents may be valued members of Minnesota families, but many are surprised to discover their rights restricted when the parents of their grandchildren divorce, separate, or pass away. Visitation is by no means guaranteed, but Minnesota grandparents can petition local courts for the right to spend time with their grandchildren.

When determining custody and visitation rights, Minnesota courts emphasize children’s best interests. Courts will not award visitation if time spent with grandparents is deemed potentially harmful for children already suffering the fallout of divorce. When visitation is clearly in the child’s best interests, however, such arrangements are well within reach.

What Happens When the Grandchildren’s Parents Die?

Grandparents are often able to secure visitation rights in the aftermath of parental death. In such situations, courts look closely at prior relationships between grandparents and their children — and between grandparents and their grandchildren. Courts may also consider the extent to which grandparent visitation could impact the relationship between the affected child and his or her living parent.

What About Grandparents Rights After Divorce Or Separation?

Divorce-related grandparents rights cases largely resemble those involving the death of a parent. However, the often competing interests of affected parents may make these situations even more complicated. Many parents object to dividing their children’s time not only between divorced spouses, but also between multiple grandparents.

As always, courts prioritize the interests of affected children over the stated preferences of their parents and grandparents. Courts also emphasize the quality of the relationship between parent and child over that of grandparent and grandchild. Successful petitions for grandparent visitation are more likely if the impacted children previously resided with their grandparents for at least twelve months.

At the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd., we offer targeted legal services for both parents and grandparents impacted by divorce. Contact us today to learn more about your options for gaining visitation rights as a grandparent.