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Proposed change in law may offer hope for grandparents’ rights

Minnesota recognizes that grandparents often play a crucial role in the development of their grandchildren. Grandparents often provide much-needed stability and emotional support which can prove especially beneficial to grandchildren with parents going through divorce.

Currently, Minnesota family courts can grant grandparents visitation rights during divorce proceedings when certain conditions exist. For example, the visitations must be in the child's best interests and must not hinder the relationship between the parent and child.

Frequent readers of our online blog may remember one of our previous posts where we discussed situations in which courts might appoint grandparents guardianship or award them custody of grandchildren. Generally, there must be some showing that a parent is mentally or physically unable to properly care for their children. Typically, cases involving neglect, abandonment, substance abuse or dependency are examples which may convince a court to allow grandparents more permissive rights.

On Feb. 5, legislators in the Minnesota State Senate lawmakers presented a bill which would require parents with young children to go through a four-hour course before courts would allow divorce proceedings to move forward. The intention of the bill is to help parents work through financial issues as well as matters involving child custody and child support. Although the bill is still in its early stages, it would allow some parents to be exempted from the courses based on reasons of limited finances or language skills.

However, if the law does pass it may provide grandparents with some additional arguments in certain cases. For example, a parent's failure to complete the course might indicate some deeper underlying issues with regard to their parental abilities.

Our law firm recognizes that your grandchildren are important members of your family. Based in Lakeville, our firm is home to an attorney who has been providing experienced legal representation to clients in family law matters for over 15 years. Our firm has the necessary experience to assist you whether you are simply looking to spend more time with your grandchildren or attempting to assume greater responsibilities.

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