In many families, grandparents play a big role in their grandchildrens’ lives and contribute significantly to the care, upbringing, and education of the children. Spending quality time with grandparents can be an enriching part of a child’s life and provide many memorable experiences. However, a divorce, familial animosity, or other circumstances can strain relationships, causing a between adult children and their parents. This type of situation may sometimes result in grandparents being unable to spend time with their grandchildren.
New York State Domestic Relations Law § 72 provides a legal mechanism by which grandparents may obtain visitation and custody rights concerning their grandchildren. A grandparent may petition to commence a visitation proceeding if one or both parents die, or "conditions exist which equity would see fit to intervene." If the court determines the grandparent has standing to be heard, the grandparents' petition can be granted, and the case for visitation can be heard in court. The court may, within its discretion, order visitation for grandparents if it determines that it is in the child's best interests.
To determine the standing of a grandparent, the court will consider the nature of the relationship between the grandparent and child. Additionally, if a grandparent is denied visitation by the child's parents, the court will consider the nature of the parents' objection. Generally, New York courts have held that acrimony, by itself, between grandparent and parent is not sufficient to deny a grandparent visitation rights to the grandchildren. Visitation rights for grandparents may also be pursued in certain situations if the child has been placed in the care of social services.
If you are a grandparent in New York who wishes to seek visitation rights of your grandchild, it is best to consult with an attorney who can discuss the facts of your case and any legal options you may have.
Contact the Law Office of Jessica M. Semins at (646) 397-6844 to schedule an appointment for a consultation. The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins has office locations in Manhattan and Melville and is available to represent clients concerning grandparents’ visitation rights, and other family law matters, in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester.
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