Grandparents and Visitation in Minnesota, Part I


Banas Family Law, P.A. understands that the relationship between Grandparents and Grandchildren is a time honored tradition. They dote on their grandchildren, enjoying time spent with loved ones. However, in families where relationships are contentious or ill-defined, these visits often don't occur at all. In divorced families, or in situations where the parents of a minor child have never married, grandparents have found themselves in a precarious situation with regard to their grandchildren.

Minnesota legislators have taken into account the evolving nature of families and drafted Minnesota Statue § 518.1752. This statute enables the court to grant an order for grandparent visitation either during or after the proceedings for the dissolution of a marriage or legal separation of the partners in the marriage.

Section 518.1752 incorporates Minnesota Statute § 257C.08, which specifically allows the district court overseeing custody issues to consider a petition by the grandparents for their rights to visitation. Section 257C.08 takes into account the legal status of the minor child's parents.

First and foremost, the court will determine the best interests of the minor child. These interests are paramount. The court will take into account the amount of personal contact between the grandparent and the grandchild before the legal proceding. Consideration is also paid to whether the visitation rights would interfere with the parent / child relationship.

If the minor child has lived with the grandparents for a year or more, the law allows the grandparents to file a petition for visitation as a separate action outside of a divorce, paternity action, annulment or legal separation. If the parent has, after that time, removed the child from the grandparents' home, the grandparents may also petition for a court order granting visitation. It should be noted that in this situation as well, the best interests of the minor child are paramount, and the visitation may not interfere with the parent / child relationship.

Unless the parties agree in writing, if a motion for grandparent visitation is denied, no motion may be filed within six months after the disposition.

Under Minnesota Statute § 257C.08, anyone who has cared for an unmarried minor child for two years or more (and is not a foster parent) may petition the court for reasonable visitation.