Grandparents' And Third-Party Rights

Helping Important Third Parties Obtain Visitation Or Custody Rights

While Minnesota's laws recognize a child's parents as the primary sources of financial, emotional and developmental support, they also recognize that under certain circumstances, third parties, such as grandparents, may have a legally enforceable right to visitation or custody.

Our family law practice at the Huson Law Firm, PLLC, has always stressed that children are best served when all the people who care for them are able to work cooperatively. Minnesota family law determines visitation or custody opportunities for grandparents and third parties if their rights are in the best interest of the child.

Rights To Visitation

Minnesota law provides that grandparents can seek legally enforceable visitation rights if:

  • The child's parent (the grandparents' child) has died
  • The child's parents have been part of family court proceedings such as dissolution of marriage, legal separation, annulment or parentage proceedings that have involved the grandchild
  • The grandchild has lived with the grandparents for 12 or more months

All of these provisions are conditioned on what's in the best interests of the child. If grandparents can show that they hold a substantial and important place in the child's life, they have a greater chance of success.

Rights To Custody

Courts are generally reluctant to sever a parent's custodial rights, but in Minnesota, grandparents or a third party acting as a " de facto custodian" or "interested third party" can petition a court for custody. If grandparents can establish that they are de facto custodians, then the court must determine whether granting them custody is within the child's best interests.

The burden for an interested third party is considerably heavier. They must show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the parent has abandoned, neglected or otherwise shown disregard for the child's well-being and that the child may suffer harm by living with the parent.

Our St. Paul Area Attorneys Know What The Law Offers Grandparents

We've spent more than two decades helping St. Paul metropolitan area families provide the best for children. Call the Huson Law Firm, PLLC, in Maplewood at 651-968-0822 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. We look forward to helping you with these difficult matters.