Appellate Court Limits Grandmother's Visitation

06/20/2011

In an opinion published June 20, 2011, the Minnesota Court of Appeals found in favor of Larkin Hoffman's client, overturning a lower court decision that gave the maternal grandmother of the client's son "unprecedented" expansive visitation privileges that interfered with his role as father. The client, represented by attorneys John R. "Rob" Hill and Amy L. Helsene, was embroiled in a 2 1/2 year dispute over visitation rights with the maternal grandmother of his son, whose mother was slain by an ex-boyfriend in January 2009.

The boy's maternal grandmother petitioned ex parte for sole custody of the boy within days of his mother's slaying, claiming that she was unaware of the identity of the boy's father and without providing him notice of the ex parte proceeding. The Court found that the grandmother was aware that the father "had been actively involved in the child's life since birth," and by claiming she was unaware of his paternal status, "effectively scheduled a proceeding at which the father could not be present to make his easily provable claim of parentage."