Grandparents Rights

There are many cases when extended family members, such as grandparents, may be closely involved in taking care of children. But during divorce proceedings and child custody, the provided visitation schedules and custody orders may not always take this into account.

But as a grandparent, you may have certain rights to see and care for your grandchildren, depending on the circumstances. If you need help understanding your rights, contact New York Family Law Group to discuss your situation and get the legal assistance you need.

Can A Grandparent Get Custody Of Children? 

In rare cases, a grandparent can get custody of children. But this is difficult. In general, parents have a right to raise their child “as they see fit.”  And despite being related, a grandparent is considered to be a “non-parent.” 

Basically, to qualify for custody, a grandparent must prove extraordinary circumstances and provide evidence that it’s in the child’s “best interest.” These grounds for custody include:

  • Psychological bonding with the child
  • Parental unfitness
  • Abandonment
  • Surrender
  • Extended disruption of custody 
  • Persistent neglect
  • Child abuse

To get custody of a child, the grandparent must petition the court, go to trial, and present evidence such as testimony, documents, expert opinions, and other such proof that one or more of these grounds is present, and that the child’s best interests would be served by providing custody rights to the grandparents. 

What Are A Grandparent’s Rights To Visitation?

New York recognizes three grounds for grandparents to obtain visitation through a court order: 

  1. One or both parents die
  2. The grandparent has a “substantial existing relationship” with their grandchild
  3. The parents of the child have interfered with efforts to establish or maintain a relationship

If one or both parents die, legal grounds for visitation will be established automatically.  However, if one or both child’s parents are alive, you must provide evidence of a substantial relationship with your grandchild, or you must show that the parents of the child have stopped you from establishing such a relationship. 

Then, the court will take the child’s best interests into account and determine whether or not to award court-ordered visitation rights.

What Are The Factors In Determining A Child’s “Best Interests?” 

A wide variety of different factors can determine a child’s “best interests” for visitation, including the child’s age, their wishes, the mental and physical health of the involved parties, your relationship with the child and their parents, and more. 

For custody, many other factors will be taken into account, too, such as your age and health, your financial means, the stability and appropriateness of your home environment, the effects on the parent or parents of the child, and more. 

Working with a New York family lawyer can help you understand the factors that go into determining your child’s best interests, and ensure you present the best possible case for either visitation or custody in New York.

Contact New York Family Law Group To Protect Your Rights As A Grandparent

At New York Family Law Group, Martin Mohr and Ethan Steward have experience with complex cases involving grandparents, parents, and kids. Whether you want to establish visitation rights with your grandkids or want to obtain custody to protect their well-being, our team can assist you. Contact us for a consultation now.

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