Child custody arrangements are typically considered to be between two parents who are no longer together or have divorced. However, sometimes custody or visitation rights are granted to grandparents of the child in question. In these instances, sometimes grandparents are a primary guardian or are seeking custody or visitation rights of their grandchild. If the grandparents of the child are not on good terms with the child's mother or father, this is might be the reason for grandparents' to investigate their legal rights.
Grandparents' rights are similar to paternity rights, as they are governed by the individual state. In Minnesota, a family court may award custody arrangements, such as visitation rights to a grandparent, if a child's parent is deceased and the grandparents are the parents of the deceased parent.
Visitation may also be granted during or after divorce, custody, separation, annulment or paternity proceedings. These visitation rights are awarded on a case-by-case basis, specific to that family's situation.
So in short, grandparents' often have rights to visitation of their grandchild even if one parent is refusing such interaction. In order to ensure that the visitation is available, some grandparents choose to explore their legal options in situations where they have been denied visitation or child custody in the past.
Being denied visitation usually just means the grandparents have been unable to see or spend time with their grandchild on a regular basis. Grandparents' do have a right to visitation in most circumstances; therefore, it might be important to explore these rights further.
If you are a grandparent and have been unable to see a grandchild due to a lifestyle change of their guardian, there might be a way to change the situation. Sometimes it is about opening lines of communication and both parties being able to compromise. Other times, the law needs to get involved. Whatever the means, the goal is always to have the best interests of the child in mind.
Source: family.findlaw.com, "Summaries of State Law: Grandparent Visitation and Custody," Accessed Dec. 7, 2015