It is every grandparent's nightmare when their adult children are getting a divorce or breaking up, leaving the grandchild caught between the two parents.
Under a recent Minnesota Supreme Court ruling, grandparents can, indeed, pursue reasonable visitation rights through the courts.
Minn. Stat. § 257C.08, subd. 2
If you are worried about losing your place in your grandchild's world after the parents divorce, there is some heartening news from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
For years, grandparents in Minnesota have had the right to petition the court for visitation rights while the custody portion of the divorce was in process. In many cases, legal visitation rights didn't matter, however, because grandparents saw the grandchild when their own adult son or daughter had custody possession or visitation rights. The original Minn. Stat. § 257C.08 reads that a request for legal visitation rights must be made as part of the divorce procedure. After the divorce decree was finalized, there was little a grandparent could do to secure visitation rights "after the fact."
For parents dissolving their non-marital relationship, grandparents may have been left out of the equation altogether. The only way for a grandparent to get visitation is if the non-custodial parent sought a Recognition of Parentage (ROP), giving him or her the right to visitation.
New broader interpretation
In a majority opinion, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently ruled, however, that the act of securing an ROP may be interpreted as a court process under the statute. This means that a divorced non-custodial parent may now apply for an ROP and, during the application process, the grandparents may seek legal visitation rights. All existing conditions under 257C.08 RIGHTS OF VISITATION TO UNMARRIED PERSONS, regarding the best interests of the child, continue to be in force.
Get legal help
If you are a grandparent in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area and are interested in remaining part of your grandchild's life, talk to Minnesota family law attorney Gregory D. Dittrich in Oakdale.