When grandparents may have visitation rights

In Minnesota, when a child's parents may not be able to provide the care that they need, they may be placed into foster care or be adopted by another family. However, the child's grandparents may still wish to be in that child's life. In some cases, the grandparents may be able to seek visitation in order to remain bonded with their grandchild.

There a number of conditions that must be met before grandparents may be awarded visitation. The marital status of the parents is one of these considerations, as it may not be appropriate for the grandparents to be awarded visitation if the couple is not married. Marital status may not be considered, however, if the child lived with the grandparents for a certain amount of time. Additionally, if a parent is deceased, the grandparents may be awarded visitation. Regardless of whether the statutory conditions are met, the grandparents must still prove that visitation is in the best interest of the child. In Minnesota, if the child is adopted by someone outside the family, the grandparents' visitation rights are terminated.

In some cases, the grandparents may be able to adopt the child. Before this is done, the courts must first determine what type of relationship the parent or parents have with the child. The grandparents must then prove that the parents are not fit to care for the child, which can be difficult.

In most cases, it is important that a child gets to know their family members. If grandparents are not allowed to see their grandchildren, they may be able to seek visitation or even custody by going through the legal system. An attorney may be able to help them determine whether they have a case or prove that visitation or custody is in the best interest of the child.

Source: Findlaw, "Requirements for Awarding Grandparent Visitation and Custody ", August 05, 2014

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