Grandparents’ Rights in New York | What to Know

Grandparents’ Rights in New York | What to Know

If you are a grandparent struggling with a custody situation involving a grandchild, it is important to know what rights you have when it comes to visitation. Read on to learn more about grandparents’ rights in New York.

Physical vs. Legal Custody

It is important to note the difference between physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time. Legal custody refers to the right a parent has to make important decisions in a child’s life, including choices regarding medicine, education, and religion. In rare cases, only one parent will be granted physical custody. This parent is known as the custodial parent. If this occurs, it may be difficult for the family of the non-custodial parent to see the child after the divorce.

Who Can Request a Visitation Order?

If you are worried that a custody agreement will limit your access to an important child in your life, you may be able to file a visitation order. It is important to note that only parents, grandparents, and siblings can request a visitation order. Unfortunately, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members cannot request visitation. Additionally, simply filing the order is not enough to obtain visitation rights. You will have to prove to the court that giving you visitation rights is in the child’s best interest.

What Will the Take Into Consideration?

The goal of a New York court is to ensure that the child’s standard of living is the same or better than before the divorce. As a result, the court may consider the following factors:

  • The relationship between the parents and the grandparent
  • The effect the visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents
  • The time-sharing arrangement between the parents and the child
  • The relationship between the child and the grandparent
  • Any history of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) or neglect by the grandparent
  • The amount of time since the child last saw their grandparent and the reasons for any lapse in contact
  • If one parent is deceased, the court may consider the time-sharing agreement that was previously established with the deceased parent
  • The good faith of the grandparent while applying
  • Any other factor pertaining to the best interests of the child

If you have any questions or concerns, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney for more information regarding grandparents’ rights and how to file a visitation order. Contact our firm today.

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