When it comes to raising kids, everyone has heard the phrase:  “It takes a village.”  Raising kids is impossible to do on your own, and often family members such as grandparents can become very important people in children’s lives. When a couple with children decides to separate, it is unfortunate when grandparents end up missing out on spending time with the children because the family, as a unit, changes drastically. Can the Minnesota court system help grandparents to still see their grandchildren after a divorce?

Take the Meyer family. Bob Meyer and his girlfriend, Jane, had a daughter, Shelly. During Shelly’s early childhood, she grew up spending time with both her mom and dad, but also her dad’s parents, her grandparents. Shelly went to movies with her grandparents, spent numerous holidays with them, and spent many weekends on their farm.   She developed a close and very intimate relationship with both her grandparents.  When Shelly was 7 years old, her Mom and Dad hit a rough patch in their relationship and decided to separate. Mr. Meyer was offered a job opportunity in Iowa, so he relocated out of the Twin Cities to pursue his career. Shelly remained in the Twin Cities with her mother. Unfortunately, the breakup between Bob and Jane was less than peaceful.  As a result, Shelly began to see less and less of her grandparents because Jane, in her anger and pain over the breakup, couldn’t bear to confront Bob’s parents and stopped bringing Shelly to their house.  The grandparents began to miss Shelly, but they felt helpless, and desperately wanted to see their granddaughter. Now that their son lived in Iowa and was no longer involved with Shelly’s mother, how were they going to see her?

At this point, the grandparents decided to get the Minnesota Court, and Minnesota attorneys, involved.  Their main question was, “We are not Shelly’s parents, and her father has moved out of Minnesota, but is there anything we can do so we can spend time with our granddaughter?”  The answer is Yes. In Minnesota, there is a Statute designed to ensure that, in situations like this, grandparents can see their grandchildren. Shelly’s grandparents were able to bring a Motion to court and request visitation time with Shelly. When looking at the grandparent’s request, the Court examines the relationship between the child and her grandparents, as well as the role the grandparents have had in the child’s life. As in Shelly’s case, her grandparents were a constant part of her life. And after Shelly’s father moved away, it was detrimental to Shelly when she stopped seeing her grandparents. As a result, the Minnesota court granted the grandparents request for visitation with Shelly, and she now is able to spend holidays and some weekends with her grandparents.

Our firm is experienced with handling situations involving grandparent rights in Minnesota. Contact us if you have questions about grandparent’s visitation rights in Minnesota.

For more information, visit Minn. Stat. 257C.08

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