Grandparent visitation refers to a grandparent getting court-ordered visits with children. This is not grandparent custody. Grandparent visitation is governed by Minn. Stat. 257C.08.
Grandparent Visitation Standing
In order to be entitled to bring a case, one of three conditions must be met:
1. If child has resided with grandparents. If an unmarried minor has resided with grandparents or great-grandparents for a period of 12 months or more, and is subsequently removed from the home by the minor’s parents, the grandparents or great-grandparents may petition the district court for an order granting them reasonable visitation rights to the child during minority.
2. If parent is deceased. If a parent of an unmarried minor child is deceased, the parents and grandparents of the deceased parent may be granted reasonable visitation rights to the unmarried minor child during minority by the district court. Note: This is typically an “in-law” situation.
3. If one of the following actions has been started, even if it’s been finished: dissolution, custody, legal separation, annulment, or parentage. If one of the above cases is currently in process or had been completed previously, a grandparent may motion the Court for visitation rights.
If one of these conditions is not met, a grandparent cannot bring a case for visitation.
Grandparent Visitation Factors
If one of the required conditions it met to bring a case, the court must then decide whether grandparent visitation should be ordered. The court is required to consider two factors when making this decision.
First, the court must determine that the visitation is in the best interests of the children.
Second, the court must determine that the visitation will not interfere with the parent-child relationship. This factor is designed to protect the parent’s Constitutional right to raise his or her children.
If the court finds both of these factors in favor of the grandparent(s) bringing the case, the court will award some visitation. This visitation cannot be as much as a non-custodial parent may get. Instead, it would typically be a few days a month at most.