In Minnesota, and the United States, parents have a fundamental and protected right to make decisions about their children’s care and custody. This right is recognized by the United States Supreme Court (Troxel v. Granville 530 US 57, 65 (2000)) and the Minnesota Supreme Court (Soohoo v Johnson 731 N.W.2d 815, 820 (Minn. 2007). It includes a parent’s right to decide who spends time with their children (In re CDGD 800 N.W.2nd 652, 655 (Minn. Ct. App. 2011)).
It is not uncommon for parents who are fortunate enough to have grandparents’ help in child care, to routinely have parental duties undertaken, including providing daily care and residence, by the child’s grandparents. And, if ongoing and even permanent care of the child is better-suited to the grandparent than the parent, it is possible to transfer a parent’s rights, to that grandparent.
Minnesota law recognizes that a parent can delegate or even transfer parental rights to a third party, like a grandparent. A delegation of parental rights is temporary (up to a year) and does not divest the parent of their parental rights (Minn. Stat. § 524.5-211). Like a ‘power of attorney’, the delegation of parental rights does not need a court order, and, takes effect upon a parent signing the delegation.
A transfer of custody is a permanent divestiture of custody rights in favor of the receiving party. By knowingly entering into a ‘consent decree’ between the parent and third party, and upon the court agreeing the transfer to be in the child’s best interests, a permanent transfer of custody to a third party, often a grandparent, has legal effect (Minn. Stat. 257.07).
These types of transfers of custody were recently recognized by the Court of Appeals, where the child’s parents transferred custody rights to the grandparent; who had been caring for the child for extended periods, and, the parents agreed that it was best for the child that grandparent undertake permanent custody and care of the child.
This transfer of custody survived a challenge from the child’s other grandparent, who wanted to take custody of the child. The court rejected the challenge, as it recognized the right of a parent (citing SooHoo v Johnson) to make decisions about his or her child (and who cares for that child) as a fundamental, protected right.
For questions about parental rights and grandparent’s rights, please contacted the attorneys at Beyer & Simonson, LLC.
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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.