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Minnesota Grandparents' Rights

Courts Must Consider Two Factors When Deciding a Case

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Grace.jpg

Grandparents in Minnesota may relate to the official state photograph, Grace, taken by Eric Enstrom.

Visitation rights may be petitioned for in Minnesota during or after proceedings dealing with divorce, separation, custody, annulment and paternity. Since a 2013 Minnesota Supreme Court case, Christianson v. Henke, the courts also count a Recognition of Parentage (ROP) as a court proceeding. The ROP is a document signed by unmarried parents who wish to document their relationship to the child. 

When deciding visitation cases, the courts are instructed to consider two factors: the prior relationship between the grandparent and grandchild and the impact of visitation on the parent-child relationship. In the case of a child with a deceased parent, the parents and grandparents of the deceased parent can request visitation, with the same two factors to be considered.

In addition, a petition for visitation rights can be filed independently of one of the preceding actions if the grandchild has lived with the grandparent for at least a year and was removed from the grandparent's home by the parent.

Great-grandparents are expressly mentioned in two sections of the statutes, the ones dealing with a child with a deceased parent and the one dealing with children who have lived with a grandparent for a year or more.

In the state of Minnesota, adoption cuts off visitation rights unless the adopting party is a stepparent.

See Minnesota statutes 518.1752 and 257C.08

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