Can grandparents obtain visitation rights?
In the state of Minnesota, a grandparent may petition for visitation with their grandchildren. However, a judge must find that the situation is one of a few limited circumstances that qualify for grandparent visitation. Only then will the court consider whether the visitation is in the best interest of the grandchild. Furthermore, the court must also find that the visitation will not interfere with the relationship that the minor has with his or her parents.
When can a grandparent seek visitation with a grandchild?
If a child’s parent is deceased, the grandparents (the parents of the deceased) may ask a court for a visitation schedule to allow them to maintain a relationship with the child. This is true even if the child is later adopted by a stepparent. Visitation may also be available if the parents are going through or have gone through a legal process involving child custody. Finally, grandparent visitation may be ordered if the child previously lived with the grandparents for at least twelve months.
Do the grandparents need an existing relationship with the child?
In most cases, grandparents can only obtain visitation rights to their grandchildren if there is evidence of an existing, quality relationship between them and the child. This is usually proved through pictures and videos of the grandparents and child spending time together, as well as calendars, phone logs, bank statements, or other records that show the grandparents playing an active role in the child’s life.
What does a grandparent visitation schedule look like?
Grandparents don’t receive preferential treatment from a court. Instead, the amount of “reasonable visitation” for grandparents is limited by the need to not interfere with the parent-child relationship. The amount and frequency of grandparent visitation varies depending on the circumstances. This could mean one day of visitation every other week or some period of time each summer, as well as anything in between. It is also possible that the visitation is only by phone, email, or other similar means.
A family law attorney might be able to provide more insight into how a judge might respond to a petition by grandparents for access to a grandchild and help you provide the court with the information you need to show whether grandparent visitation is proper for the child.