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Grandparents' rights after parents' death or divorce

Many Minnesota grandparents cherish the relationships they have with their grandchildren. Some see their grandchildren monthly, weekly or even on a daily basis and would be devastated if they could no longer visit them for some reason. Unfortunately, many parents refuse to allow the grandparents to see their grandchildren on a regular basis for some reason. In some cases, the parents are harming their children and the grandparents want to gain custody. Minnesota recognizes grandparents' rights and can help grandparents gain visitation or custody rights based on their situations.

When the parents divorce, it's not uncommon for the grandparents to see their grandchildren less frequently. This is likely due to the parent's visitation schedule. For example, a father may only be able to have the children in his custody once or twice a month. The same situation applies when a parent dies. After the mother's death, for example, the father may no longer want contact with the mother's side of the family, especially after a remarriage. In this case, the maternal grandparents would suffer because they would lose contact with their grandchildren.

There are cases in which the grandparents want to protect their grandchildren from their parents' harm and, as a result, request custody. Although courts typically want to keep children with their parents, a judge will side with the grandparents if there are situations such as neglect, abuse or excessive drug or alcohol use.

Courts typically defer to the parents in matters regarding visitation and child custody. However, preserving the grandparents' relationship with children is a high priority, especially if the grandparents and children were close before a death, divorce or other life event drew them apart. Contacting a family law attorney may help you to understand your rights and whether you have a strong case.

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