Family Law: Grandparents’ Rights

My Grandad, Guitar Hero.Family Law: Grandparents’ Rights

The love and wisdom of a grandparent is just as important in raising children and can often be a secondary support system when parents have to work. However, divorce and death can hinder a grandparent from being just that….a grandparent.

In New York, under Domestic Relations Law Section 72, grandparents have the ability to petition for visitation or custody rights when the parents reside in the state, one or both have passed away, or if the situation equitably requires the grandparent to seek visitation or custody. Similar to custody arrangements between the parents, the Court will look to the child’s best interest in determining what, if any, rights the grandparent can entertain.

Grandparents’ rights are still subordinate, however, to the parents when the parent is deemed fit; the Courts are hesitant to interfere with the family structure in such circumstances. A grandparent must show: a) an established, strong relationship with the child, and b) it would be in the child’s best interest to maintain that relationship. If both the parents are alive, the grandparent must first prove “standing” before the court will even consider the petition; meaning the grandparent must show a special factor for the court to intervene in the family (such as harm to the child).

As a grandparent, it can be difficult to understand why you no longer have the ability to see your grandchild. Our Westchester and Putnam family law attorneys will be able to assist you during these emotional times and talk with you regarding your options. Please contact our Westchester Family Law Attorneys today at (914) 864-2465 or (845) 628-4301 to discuss your rights.  Offices in Mahopac, Mount Kisco, White Plains and NYC


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