Minnesota Third Party Custody & Visitation Lawyers

All families are unique, and so are the circumstances and individuals involved with the upbringing of a child. In Minnesota, a third-party custody action is a court proceeding by which a third party (or nonparent) seeks to obtain custody rights to a child. Custody rights include physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the right to control the routine daily care of the child and the residence of the child. Legal custody refers to the right to determine the child’s upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training. The Minneapolis divorce attorneys at Arnold, Rodman & O’Keefe PA can assist you in finding an effective solution for your family situation while pursuing or defending a Minnesota third-party custody action.

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Minneapolis Third Party
Child Custody Lawyers

Under Minnesota law, third party custody proceedings typically arise under extraordinary circumstances where biological parents may be deceased or unable to provide care for their child, and/or where a child is abandoned, abused or neglected. As part of a third party custody proceeding, the Court may determine:

  • Legal custody of a minor child, whether sole or joint
  • Child's physical custody and residence
  • Quality and duration of parenting time
  • Whether parenting time is supervised or unsupervised
  • Support as determined under chapter 518A

Minnesota Third Party
Custody & Visitation Law

Minnesota law provides the court may grant visitation rights to third parties in exceptional circumstances. This law is often referred to as the “grandparent visitation statute” although you do not need to be a grandparent to qualify for visitation rights. The purpose of this law is to focus on the best interests and needs of the child, and not on the desires or wishes of the grandparents or other third party. Minnesota law provides that the following persons may qualify for visitation rights:

  • Parents or grandparents of a deceased parent
  • Grandparent or great-grandparent of a child involved in a family court proceeding
  • Grandparents or great-grandparents of a child who has resided with them for a period of twelve months or more
  • An Individual other than a foster parent, with whom the child has resided for two years or more and with whom the child has developed emotional ties.

There may also be a separate common law basis for third party visitation, which may include siblings of the child and persons who have acted as a parent to the child. In granting visitation to a third party, the court will consider:

  • The child’s best interests, which may include the reasonable preference of the child, if of sufficient age to express a preference
  • Whether there will be interference with the custodial parent-child relationship
  • Amount of personal contact between applicant and child prior to application.

A third party custody proceeding may transfer physical and legal custodial rights to a third party, but does not relieve a parent of a duty to support the child. This means that if custody of a child is transferred to a nonparent, the biological or adoptive parents of the child may be ordered to pay child support to the third party custodian.

To bring a third party custody proceeding in Minnesota, the nonparent must establish that he or she has standing to seek custody as either a “de facto custodian” or as an “interested third party. Factors considered by the court in determining an interested third party's petition:

  • Amount of involvement the interested third party had with the child
  • Presence or involvement of other interested third parties
  • Facts and circumstances of the parent's absence
  • Parent's refusal to comply with conditions previous court orders
  • Whether the parent now seeking custody was previously prevented from doing so as a result of domestic violence
  • Whether a sibling of the child is already in the care of the interested third party
  • Existence of a standby custody designation under chapter 257B.
For more information or to set up an initial consultation, please contact:
(952) 955-8008 or info@arkmn.com