In the state of New York, grandparents have specific legal rights concerning custody and visitation of their grandchildren. While custody and visitation are two different and separate family law matters, they are typically decided during the same hearing.
Visitation Petitions for Grandparents
A grandparent’s visitation petition could be filed as a separate case, and the New York court will order visitation if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the grandchild.
A child’s biological or adoptive grandparents can ask the court for visitation, which is also referred to as “parenting time.” Filing a petition (formal written request) for visitation does not mean that the court will automatically grant visitation.
You must file a “petition” with the court in the county in New York where your grandchild lives. In the petition, describe your proposed schedule for court-ordered time. After you have filed your request, you have to give notice to all parties involved.
Under What Circumstances Could Visitation Be Requested?
In New York, biological or adoptive grandparents may request visitation when any of the following are true:
- One or both of the parents die
- The grandparent has an established relationship with their grandchildren
- The parents have interfered with grandparent having a relationship with the grandchild
When a grandparent seeks visitation with their grandchild, the court must start an inquiry that involves the following:
- The court has to determine that the grandparents have “standing” based on the death of the child’s parent or parents
- If the court finds that the grandparent has the right to be heard, they will then determine if the visitation is in the grandchild’s best interests.
What Factors Will Be Considered?
Some of the important factors to be considered when determining if the visitation is in the grandchild’s best interests include:
- If the grandparent and grandchild already had a relationship
- Whether the grandparent supports or undermines a grandchild’s relationship with parents
- If there is hostility between one or both parents and the grandparent seeking visitation
After you have established the legal grounds to request visitation, you must demonstrate that visiting your grandchild is in their best interest. This includes:
- The child’s age
- The child’s wishes
- The distance between where your visits will take place and where your grandchild lives
- The physical and mental well-being of all parties involved, including the grandchild and their parents
- Your relationship with the grandchild and the parent
Contact an Experienced New York Family Law Lawyer
If you are a grandparent looking to establish visitation or a parent trying to stop a grandparent from visitation, reach out to the experienced New York grandparent visitation attorneys at Mandel Law Firm as soon as you can. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys have extensive experience representing parties in a wide range of New York child visitation issues. We fully understand the long-term implications these decisions can carry.
Our attorneys are ready to review the specific facts and circumstances of your unique case. We will do whatever needs to be done to help you get the results you desire. Our approach may include interviewing witnesses, explaining the law, establishing an effective legal strategy, and figuring how you should best proceed in court.
Call (646) 770-3868 now for an informative and confidential consultation, and find out how Mandel Law Firm can help with your visitation petition.