Grandparents may be valued members of Minnesota families, but many are surprised to discover their rights restricted when the parents of their grandchildren divorce, separate, or pass away. Visitation is by no means guaranteed, but Minnesota grandparents can petition local courts for the right to spend time with their grandchildren.

When determining custody and visitation rights, Minnesota courts emphasize children’s best interests. Courts will not award visitation if time spent with grandparents is deemed potentially harmful for children already suffering the fallout of divorce. When visitation is clearly in the child’s best interests, however, such arrangements are well within reach.

What Happens When the Grandchildren’s Parents Die?

Grandparents are often able to secure visitation rights in the aftermath of parental death. In such situations, courts look closely at prior relationships between grandparents and their children — and between grandparents and their grandchildren. Courts may also consider the extent to which grandparent visitation could impact the relationship between the affected child and his or her living parent.

What About Grandparents Rights After Divorce Or Separation?

Divorce-related grandparents rights cases largely resemble those involving the death of a parent. However, the often competing interests of affected parents may make these situations even more complicated. Many parents object to dividing their children’s time not only between divorced spouses, but also between multiple grandparents.

As always, courts prioritize the interests of affected children over the stated preferences of their parents and grandparents. Courts also emphasize the quality of the relationship between parent and child over that of grandparent and grandchild. Successful petitions for grandparent visitation are more likely if the impacted children previously resided with their grandparents for at least twelve months.

At the Brown Law Offices, we offer targeted legal services for both parents and grandparents impacted by divorce. Contact us today to learn more about your options for gaining visitation rights as a grandparent.

Photo of Cynthia Brown Cynthia Brown

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served…

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003.

Cynthia has handled a wide variety of family law matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child protective services, orders for protection and harassment restraining orders. Many of her clients have also asked her to provide guidance concerning their estate planning needs.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor, public defender and criminal investigator. In addition to her family practice, Cynthia routinely represents clients facing criminal charges such as DWI, assault, theft and criminal sexual misconduct.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, ATV riding and spending time with family.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child Protective Services
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Bar Admission
  • Minnesota State Bar, 1998
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 1998
  • University of South Dakota, 1995
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Panel Attorney, Anoka County County Family Law Clinic
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper
  • Author, Family Law Forum
  • Author, Divorce Magazine