Minnesota law grants rights to grandparents to visit their grandchildren, if they can prove any of the following:
- The grandchild has a deceased parent
- The grandchild has lived with the grandparent for 12 months or more
- The grandchild is the subject of an existing court proceeding (divorce, child custody, parentage)
See Minn. Stat. §257C.08
Though grandparents can secure visitation rights to their grandchild, they are not on equal footing with a parent. This means that a grandparent will have less rights than a parent, to retain those visitation rights should things change.
For instance, when a parent has visitation (dubbed ‘parenting time’ by Minnesota lawmakers see Minn. Stat. 518.003 subd. 5) that parent can prevent the child from moving out of state, without a court order. See Minn. Stat. §518.175 subd. 3. It does happen where children, whose parents are separated, are subject to a dispute over whether the child can move out of state.
In Minnesota, when a parent is awarded court-ordered parenting time, the child may not move out of state without that parent’s consent, or, without a court order. And, before the court can issue such an Order, the parent seeking to relocate the child must prove that the move will serve the best interests of the child, after considering:
- the quality of the child’s relationship with both parents
- the age of the child, and the likely impact of the relocation
- the feasibility of preserving the child’s relationship with both parents;
- the child’s preference
- the conduct of the parent looking to move the child
- whether the move will enhance the quality of the life for the child and parent
- the parents’ reasons for supporting/opposing the move
- whether domestic abuse has occurred in the relationship
See Minn. Stat. §518.175 subd. 3
Minnesota law does not afford the same protections to grandparent-grandchild visitation rights. The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently interpreted Minn. Stat. §257C.08 (which affords grandparents visitation rights) as not applying to the law which protect parents who wish to keep their children in Minnesota, when that child is being moved out of state.
“We cannot add language that the Legislature did not include”, the Appellate Court correctly observed in its opinion. Minnesota lawmakers did not include language in §257C.08 to incorporate the same protections for grandparents, as is provided for parents seeking to preserve their parenting time rights under §518.175 subd. 3.
What this should mean to a grandparent seeking to secure visitation rights to their grandchildren, is to be aware of any potential future moves, for their grandchildren. If so, grandparents should be aware that Minnesota law does not allow them to prevent the grandchild from moving out of state.
For questions about the rights of parents, and grandparents, seeking to secure their rights to visitation, please contact the attorneys at Beyer & Simonson.
Contact Beyer & Simonson
If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.