Grandparent Visitation Rights: What’s the Process in New York?

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grandparents with two babies

If you are a grandparent and you have a good relationship with your grandchild, or you were never able to develop a relationship with them because their parents prevented it improperly, you may have the right to a legal remedy. New York allows grandparents to request visitation rights, but to be successful, you’ll need to show the court a few things. Keep reading to learn what that process entails, and don’t forget that a Suffolk County child visitation lawyer can help you if you need to request grandparent visitation with your grandchild.

What You Need to Show a Court for Grandparent Visitation Rights

The process for requesting visitation rights with your grandchild from a New York court isn’t particularly complicated, though naturally these kinds of cases can lead to some acrimony between parents and grandparents. Courts are cognizant of the way legal procedures can affect personal relationships, and will most likely not take it as a reason to deny your visitation rights.

Petition to New York County Court

Your first step will be filing a petition with the New York County court where your grandchild lives. This initiates the petition stage, where the grandparents show they have legal grounds to request visitation rights.

The petition should explain the grounds for the visitation rights you request, either the nature of your relationship with your grandchild or how you allege their parents have interfered to prevent such a relationship from growing, and the visitation schedule you propose.

The Court’s Next Steps

At this point, the court will send notice, typically, to the child’s parents and whoever else, if anyone, had sought custody of the children. In some cases, the court may appoint a lawyer for the child. This is done to be absolutely sure that the child’s perspective is properly represented in the proceedings.

If it is the case that the parents are deceased, however, New York state law requires that the request be automatically granted.

Best Interest of the Child

With the previous two steps taken care of, now you must demonstrate to the court that visitation with you is in the best interest of your grandchild. The court will analyze several different factors, including:

  • Your grandchild’s age, health, overall well-being, and day-to-day life,
  • The nature of your relationship with your grandchild,
  • The larger family structure, AND
  • The parents’ preferences and why they oppose your visitation.

As stated above, the courts recognize the toll a case can take on the extended family. Some bitterness in the relationship between parents and grandparents shouldn’t be, by itself, reason enough to deny the request.

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