When we think of child custody cases, we rarely consider grandparents. Although extended family members can be granted rights through child custody and visitation agreements, this process is still relatively rare, even in Minnesota. Now, though, a couple in North Dakota have found themselves in the middle of an unconventional case about grandparents’ rights. The grandparents in the family have been granted visitation rights over the obvert objections of the children’s parents, one of whom is their son.
Most visitation for grandparents comes into question when a parent dies. For example, if the mother dies, the maternal grandparents might secure visitation rights. In this case, however, the parents of the children simply wanted to keep them away from their grandparents, even though one of the girls had lived with her grandparents for a period of time.
This case is unlike most others because it involves the grandparents suing one of their own children. The grandparents were seeking visitation rights with the three children, including a 16-year-old girl. That young woman had lived with the couple for several months while her father was incarcerated for drug charges. The grandparents had not seen their grandchildren for two years. In 2011, the son became convinced that his parents had turned him in for the drug conviction that had sent him to jail. He thus refused to allow the grandparents access to the kids.
Now, however, the older couple has the rights to the children on the children’s and grandparents’ birthdays, along with Grandparent’s Day, Easter and several days over the winter holidays. The younger couple contends that the decision will interfere with their parent-child relationship, but a court has not yet addressed that motion.
Visitation rules indicate that the agreement must benefit the children and cannot interfere with their relationship with their parents.
www.thedickinsonpress.com, “N.D. grandparents sue son to see grandkids in ‘unheard-of’ lawsuit” Emily Welker, Aug. 26, 2013