When you raise your children, you do so in the hopes that they will have a healthy and happy future. You likely felt pleased and optimistic when your child got married and then later welcomed their own children to their growing family.
Becoming a grandparent can completely change your perspective on life and provide a fresh source of joy as you get older. Unfortunately, if difficulty arises in your child’s marriage, the impact of those problems could ripple out and affect the relationship with your grandchildren.
Particularly in cases where your child chose not to seek custody or where the courts decided to award full custody to the other parent for one reason or another, your role in the lives of the grandchildren could become endangered unless you take action to stand up for yourself and your time with your grandchildren, which, thankfully, Minnesota does allow in many cases.
Minnesota allows grandparents to seek visitation if they are already present
There are some unfortunate grandparents living in Minnesota who, due to bad relationships with their children, don’t get to interact with their grandchildren. These individuals likely won’t have an option to seek grandparent visitation in the event of a divorce, although they may have the opportunity to step up as foster or adoptive parents for their grandkids if the state terminates the parental rights of their child.
The Minnesota family courts want to make decisions that focus on the best interests of the children. Maintaining existing relationships can be a great source of support, but forcing children to develop new relationships could be a source of stress instead. The amount of time spent and strength of the bond you’ve developed with the grandchildren will influence how likely the courts are to rule that your visitation with them would be in the best interests of the kids.
Whether you have spent holidays and birthdays with your grandchildren or even lived with them in the past, the nature and intensity of your relationship will impact the strength of your claim to visitation.
Going to court means you aren’t at someone else’s mercy
Most grandparents rely on the goodwill of their children or the other parents of their grandchild to maintain the relationship they have. If the parent becomes angry with the grandparent, they could deny visitation and potentially sever that tie between grandchild and grandparent.
By seeking a formal allocation of visitation rights, grandparents ensure that they have the right to spend time with their grandchild and that they can request enforcement efforts from the courts in the future if a parent refuses court-ordered visitation.
Eventually, as you demonstrate your dedication to maintaining the relationship, the custodial parent may warm up to your presence in their life as it makes things easier for everyone in your family. Especially in cases of contentious divorces and parental alienation, maintaining that bond with a grandparent can be a major source of comfort for children whose parents have recently divorced.