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Grandparents' visitation rights questioned after death of son

Two grandparents in Minnesota's regional neighbor Michigan are seeking additional child custody rights that would allow them access to their grandchildren. So far, lower courts have ruled against visitation for the Saginaw grandparents, who are looking to spend time with the children of their deceased son. That man died in April 2011. A decision is expected from the state Supreme Court by the end of February.

The grandparents had reportedly had an argument with the children's mother in 2011, near the time of the son's death. It appears that the man had been convicted of child abuse charges shortly before his death, and he was still awaiting sentencing. The son's parental rights had been terminated through a court order before he perished.

Attorneys for the children's mother argue that the grandparents should not be permitted visitation rights because the son's parenting rights had been terminated before he died. The grandparents say they just want to share their family history with the children, who are now ages 4 and 5. Even though they have not seen their grandchildren in several years, they say they still love and miss the youngsters.

Ultimately, experts say that the case will rely on determining the exact definition of a grandparent. That is because the father's parental rights had been terminated before his death. This is a relatively unusual case for the Supreme Court to consider, according to child custody experts.

Grandparents do have certain visitation rights that vary by jurisdiction. Those grandparents who want to maintain contact with their grandchildren despite parental disapproval may benefit from contacting a qualified Minnesota family attorney. These professionals can help relatives learn more about their legal grandparents' rights and options.

Source: The Saginaw News, "Michigan Supreme Court hears case of Saginaw grandparents fighting to see grandchildren" Brad Devereaux |, Feb. 03, 2014

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