Visitation Rights for Grandparents in New York
If you are a grandparent seeking visitation or a parent looking to block a grandparent from visitation it is important to have an experienced grandparent visitation lawyer working on your case. An experienced, grandparent’s visitation lawyer can review the specific facts of your case, interview witnesses, explain the law, establish a legal strategy, and determine how you should proceed.
Do Grandparents have rights to visitation with their Grandchild?
Yes, but only if the grandparent has standing in court to seek visitation and if the visitation is in the child’s best interest. New York custody and visitation laws permit judges to order visitation rights to grandparents. New York courts have long recognized the benefits a grandparent can provide to a grandchild including child care, activities, education and love, and affection. However, if a parent objects the courts must give special weight to a fit parent’s choice to keep his or her child away from a grandparent, considering the parent’s constitutional right to care for the child and make parental decisions.
What are Grandparent Visitation Rights in New York Courts?
If an existing relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is cut off by a parent, that parent may file a grandparent visitation petition in the New York Family Court. The existing relationship and the nature of the existing relationship must be of a nature to prove to the Court that the grandparent has “standing” to ask the Court to Order visitation with the grandchild. In New York, a grandparent may petition the court whenever "conditions exist in which equity would see fit to intervene. If a grandparent cannot meet the standing requirements, a grandparent may not petition the court for grandparent visitation. If standing is established then the Court will Order visitation between the grandparent and the grandchild only if it is in the child’s best interest. To determine the best interest the Court will look to how the child’s life will be affected by continued or newly established visitation. In addition, the courts will look to whether the grandparent supports or undermines the child’s relationship with the parents. This also includes whether the grandparent’s relationship with the parents is a negative one.
When do Grandparents need to go to Court to seek Visitation?
Typically, a grandparent will go to court when access has been cut off by the parent(s) or the grandparent seeks to establish a relationship with the child where previously one has not existed. In addition, a divorce, separation, annulment, adoption, neglect/abuse case, death of a parent, or where a parent’s rights have been terminated typically is the basis for a grandparent's rights visitation case in New York.
If a grandparent files a visitation petition, do they automatically obtain visitation rights?
No, while New York has liberal laws pertaining to grandparent visitation a parent's wishes are given strong consideration by the New York Courts. There is no guarantee as to how much visitation rights a grandparent may obtain from a court if any.
New York Visitation Lawyer
In Westchester County the family law attorneys at Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP provide representation to both grandparents and parents in all types of grandparent visitation cases. Our New York divorce attorneys offer free initial consultations and have offices located in White Plains and Peekskill, New York. Call today (914) 946-4808 or contact us online.