In certain Minnesota family law cases, a child custody dispute is not a simple matter of two parents disagreeing and battling over who will have custody, what the visitation rights will be and other issues. Sometimes, people who are not the parents of the child are seeking to have visitation rights for one reason or another. Understanding the law and how such circumstances are viewed is imperative in cases such as this.
If the parents are deceased and the parents and grandparents of that deceased person would like to be able to visit the minor child and it is found that this is in the child’s best interests, visitation can be granted, provided it does not interfere between the custodial parent and child. The contact that the parties had prior to the parent’s death will be taken into consideration. If the child has previously lived with the grandparents or great-grandparents, it is possible for there to be a petition to grant them reasonable visitation rights. This too is contingent on the best interests of the minor child.
If the child was adopted, there is a legal exception. For a child who was adopted by someone other than the grandparent or step-parent, the visitation rights before the adoption will be terminated as soon as the adoption is completed. If the child was adopted by a step-parent, the grandparent has the right to petition for visitation if the grandparent is the parent of the deceased parent of the child or if a parent of the child had the parental relationship terminated after adoption. The visitation must be in the child’s best interests and deemed not to interfere with the parent-child relationship.
For there to be considered undue interference between the parent and child if there are grandparents’ rights for visitation established, there must be proven allegations that the visitation would harm the child and there must be a hearing in court with evidence. The relationship with children can be important to the grandparents and vice versa. The state tries to promote this in a way that is not negative to anyone from the custodial parent to the grandparent to the child.
Source: revisor.mn.gov, “257C.08 Rights of Visitation To Unmarried Persons,” accessed on Sept. 8, 2015