Grandparents’ Rights in New York | What to Know

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When a couple with children gets divorced, the whole family is often impacted. In some cases, grandparents may not be able to see their grandchildren as much, or at all, depending upon the situation. As a result, it is important to know your rights as a grandparent in New York. Read on to learn more about grandparents’ rights and how to request an order for visitation.

Physical vs. Legal Custody

Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child resides most. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions in the life of their child. In rare cases, only one parent will be awarded physical custody. This is referred to as sole custody. If this occurs, it may be difficult for the non-custodial parent’s family to spend time with the child. Luckily there are some steps you can take.

Requesting an Order For Visitation

The first thing you should know is that Orders for Visitation are reserved for a child’s parents, siblings, and grandparents.  Unfortunately, other family members like aunts, uncles, and cousins are not eligible to request an order for visitation, regardless of how close they are with the child. Additionally, these requests are not taken lightly. When it comes to visitation orders, a court is attempting to ensure that the child’s standard of living is the same, or better, than before the divorce.

What Will the Court Consider

When a court is deciding whether or not to allow visitation, they will examine a number of different factors. The court will examine these factors in order to make a decision that suits the child’s best interests:

  • The relationship between the guardian or parent and the applicant
  • The time that has passed since the last contact with the child
  • The bond between the child and applicant
  • Whether these visitation rights will have a positive or negative effect on the child
  • The good faith of the applicant, meaning there are no ulterior motives behind his or her applying for visitation rights
  • If the parents are divorced or separated, the time-sharing arrangement which exists between the parents regarding the child
  • Any history or indication that the applicant may pose a danger to the child
  • Any other factor relevant to the court

If you are a grandparent struggling with a custody situation, contact our firm today. We are here to advocate for you and walk you through all of your family law matters.


Peter V. Mandi, Esq. is an experienced divorce and family law attorney located in Bohemia, New York. Our firm understands the impact a divorce can have on your life. If you require strong and dedicated legal representation in Long Island, New York, please do not hesitate to contact Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today.

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