Visitation rights of grandparents

Grandparents in Minnesota who have been denied access to their grandchildren may be interested to learn what rights they have. Although laws vary from state to state, every state will allow grandparents to petition the court for the right to see their grandchildren. How easily these visitation rights are granted will depend greatly on whether the state has permissive visitation statutes or restrictive visitation statutes.

When a state has permissive visitation laws, a non-parent can seek visitation rights to a child while both of the child's parents are living and married. A grandparent wishing to seek visitation in a state with restrictive visitation laws would only be allowed to do so if the parents of the child were divorced or at least one of the parents was deceased.

In 2000, a case went to the U.S. Supreme Court involving grandparents who were seeking a greater amount of visitation time with their grandchildren. The legal dispute had apparently begun after the children's mother limited the grandparents to one visit per month and certain holidays. Although the court ultimately ruled in favor of the mother in that case, visitation petitions by grandparents were not found to be unconstitutional.

Grandparents who believes they have been unfairly cut out of their grandchild's life may wish to speak with an attorney who has experience in family law matters. Before petitioning the court for visitation rights, the attorney may help a grandparent to gather any relevant evidence to establish that a positive relationship existed between the grandparent and the child. If the grandchild lived in the grandparent's home at one point, proof of this may help to build a stronger case.

Source: Findlaw, "Grandparent Visitation Rights", September 04, 2014

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