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In MN, what age can a child choose to live with grandparents

Customer Question
if there is abuse?...
In MN, what age can a child choose to live with grandparents if there is abuse?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Family Law
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
8/1/2011
Family Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 6 years ago
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102,694
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Hello,

Welcome to JustAnswer and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. Please remember that there might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other clients or taking a break.

MN legislature allows the Court to consider the preference of the child, but does not state an age. What NJ Courts to is if the child wishes to state a preference, the Judge will usually see if the child is mature enough by interviewing the child in chambers without other parties. Normally, children of 8 and above are considered.

The child's preference is taken into consideration but is NOT the deciding factor. Judges know that often, children will want to live with the adult that allows them the most freedom but is not necessarily the best custodian, so while the children's preference is noted, it does not define the judgment for custody. Therefore, to get custody, you'd have to file in Court and prove that said modification of custody is 'in the best interest of the child.' MN allows grandparents to seek custody under MINN. STAT. §§ 257C.01(Subd. 3)(a), 257C.03(Subd.7)(a) (2005) (permitting an “interested third party” to seek custody).

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I was wondering if you read my notes about the abuse. You did not say anything about that? Can that be taken into consideration? Social Services has been involved 3 times.
Family Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 6 years ago
I did, and I alluded to the fact that the custody would be 'in the best interest of the child.' My apologies for not expanding on this.

Yes, the Court will seriously consider these facts. The Court will look at the following to to seek who would be a better custodian:

(1) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody;
(2) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;
(3) the child’s primary caretaker;
(4) the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child;
(5) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with a parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
(6) the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
(7) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
(8) the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home;
(9) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
(10) the capacity and disposition of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue educating and raising the child in the child’s culture and religion or creed, if any;
(11) the child’s cultural background;
(12) the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser;
(13) except in cases in which a finding of domestic abuse, the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child.

(Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.17)

So yes, this will be entertained. However, you have to prove that the parents are essentially incapable of being good custodians. It is hard to do, since the Court will assume that the parents can change - you'd have to show that there is no hope for them to be better in raising the child.

I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so please click on the ACCEPT button. This is the only way for me to get credit for my work; I receive no credit for my time with you until you actually press ACCEPT, even if you already have a subscription. If you still need to clarify something or seek more information, just use the REPLY button and I’d be more than happy to follow up to your satisfaction! There is no fee for follow up questions before or after accepting, should you wish to continue in the thread, and I encourage you to do so should you desire clarification.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I did not accept your answer because the information that you gave me, was the same information that I had already found on the internet. I was expecting more that the general information.
Family Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 6 years ago
Hello,

I understand, but there is only so much that I can provide. You asked me at what age the child can testify, and I cited you the rule that states this. You followed up with consideration of prior behavior of parties, and I explained how it would be taken into account.

If you should seek anything else, please let me know and I'd be happy to expand on the answers.
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