Recently, many states have passed laws that give grandparents certain visitation rights with a child after a divorce or after the death of the child’s parent.
Predictably, this has given rise to questions about whether this right should be extended to other close relatives, such as aunts, uncles and cousins.
The issue came up recently in Minnesota, when a woman asked for visitation rights with her niece – the daughter of her recently deceased identical twin sister.
The woman argued that since Minnesota has a law that gives visitation rights to grandparents, it only made sense to include other family members as well.
But the Minnesota Supreme Court said that the law was to benefit grandparents and shouldn’t be extended to other relatives – except perhaps in unusual cases where another relative had previously been acting in place of the child’s parents.