Rights in New York
Legal questions involving grandparents and grandchildren often include
one or more of the following factors:
Following a separation or divorce, the grandparents have difficulty seeing
their grandchildren as often as they were accustomed to during the marriage
or they have difficulty seeing them at all.
After one parent dies, the other parent cuts off contact with the in-laws,
and grandparents wish to assert rights to continued contact.
Grandparents believe that their children are unfit parents because of drug
or alcohol abuse or for other reasons, and wish for advice on how to become
legal guardians of the grandchildren.
Grandparent in Westchester County:
The answers to your questions regarding "grandparents' rights"
in your family will vary depending on your particular circumstances. The
White Plains family law attorneys at
Riebling, Proto & Sachs, LLP are experienced and adept at helping grandparents discover and implement
ways to protect bonds with their grandchildren.
If you are a grandparent and have been denied visitation with your grandchild
for whatever reason, you have a legal remedy. Please call the New York
Grandparents' Rights Lawyers at Riebling, Proto & Sachs, LLP for a
FREE INITIAL CONSULATION and we can provide you with the skilled and capable legal advice you deserve.
If, however, you are a parent who believes your child's grandparents
are not a healthy influence and wish for advice on how to protect the
children and your rights as a parent, call the New York family court lawyers
at Riebling, Proto & Sachs, LLP for a
FREE INITIAL CONSULATION to discuss your legal rights.
Grandparent Visitation Rights
Pursuant to New York State Law grandparents have a right to petition the
court to have visitation with their grandchild in two circumstances:
- Either or both of the child's parents are dead, or
- Circumstances justify the court's equitable intervention.
However, it very important for a grandparent to understand that even if
either of the above circumstances exist it does not mean that the grandparent
has an automatic right to visitation. Instead, it only gives a grandparent
the right to ask the court for visitation. In the legal world this is
called “standing”. If the court concludes that either one
of the two circumstances exists then the court will deem that the grandparent
has “standing” and therefore has the right to seek visitation
with their grandchild.
At this juncture the court will consider granting visitation rights to
the grandparents. In considering this issue the court will grant visitation
rights to the grandparent of the court finds that granting visitation
would be in the best interests of the child. In making this determination
the court will consider many factors such as the nature and extent of
the grandchild's prior relationship with the grandparents, the child’s
wishes and the reasons why the parent opposes visitation.
Every grandparent must be aware that it is always the grandparent’s
burden of establishing that visitation with their grandchild would be
in the grandchild's best interests. This is why it is vital for a
grandparent to consult with a skilled and experienced family court lawyer
so that their rights as a grandparent are protected and so that they have
the best chance at a successful outcome, especially when the stakes are so high.
Seeking Custody as a Grandparent
In circumstances where a grandparent is seeking to obtain custody of their
grandchild it is very important for the grandparent to be aware that the
court will always presume that the child’s best interest is served
by their parent having custody and thus it is often extremely difficult
for a grandparent, or any non-parent for that matter, to obtain custody
rights paramount to a parent. However, if a grandparent can demonstrate
to the court that "extraordinary circumstances" exist the grandparent
may request the court to award them custody of their grandchild. Even
if the grandparent can prove that extraordinary circumstances exist the
court will not automatically grant them custody. Instead, when a grandparent
establishes extraordinary circumstances this will only give the grandparent
a right to ask the court for custody. The court will then make a determination
if awarding custody to the grandparent is in the best interests of the child.
Examples of extraordinary circumstances include extended disruption of
custody, defined as at least two consecutive years during which the parent
has voluntarily relinquished the care and control of the child and the
child has lived with the grandparent. They might also include a parent's
abandonment of the child or physical or mental unfitness as a parent.
Help in Westchester County, NY
Our family law attorneys at Riebling, Proto & Sachs, LLP are here to
help you. With over fifty years of combined experience we bring the skill,
knowledge and compassion that deliver results in Grandparent Visitation matters.
Our Westchester County family law attorneys have experience handling Grandparent
Visitation matters in the courts throughout Westchester County, Rockland
County, Dutchess County, Putnam County, Orange County, Bronx County and
throughout the greater NYC metro area.
Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation
Whether you are a parent seeking to limit your child’s contact with
a grandparent or you are a grandparent interested in seeking visitation
or custody rights to a grandchild, you should consult with an experienced
New York family lawyer. We are here to protect your rights.
Contact us online or by telephone at (914) 840-5104 to speak with an experienced
family law attorney.