Do I Have a Legal Right to Contact My Grandchildren?

Having a family and raising children is one of life’s great joys.  Once your children have grown and start having children of their own, you will likely quickly Grandparents with grandchildfind out that having grandchildren is even better in many ways.  Developing a relationship with your grandchildren and watching them grow can be incredibly fulfilling.  In the optimal situation, you will be able to see your grandchildren often and be an integral part of their lives.  Unfortunately, if your relationship with the parents disintegrates, you may be left without regular visitation or contact.  This leads many grandparents to ask if they have a legal right to contact their grandchildren.

It is important to understand that parental rights enjoy substantial protection under both Minnesota law and the United States Constitution.  In general, parents have the right to make their own choices about how to raise their children.  This includes deciding to cut grandparents out of the lives of the children.  In other words, unlike parents, grandparents do not have a fundamental and automatic right to be involved in the lives of the grandchildren.  Grandparents do not have a legal right to contact and visit their grandchildren.

That said, in some specific circumstances, grandparents may still seek a court order providing them with the right to visit or even take custody of grandchildren.  Minnesota statute provides that a grandparent may seek an order providing them with a court order requiring a parent to allow visitation and contact between the grandparent and grandchildren if one of the following three situations applies: 1) the parent who is the child of grandparent is deceased; 2) there is already a case for custody, separation, annulment, parentage, or divorce ongoing; or 3) the child lived with the grandparent for at least twelve months.  If a grandparent can prove one of these three applies, it is possible for the grandparent to request a court order.  Keep in mind, however, that this does not necessarily mean that the request will be granted.  The court will need to consider a variety of other factors, including whether visitation between the grandparent and child is best for the child and whether such an order would negatively impact the relationship between the child and the parent.

.  We have experience helping our clients understand grandparent visitation rights.  Call us today at 651-371-9117 let us help you.