Grandparents’ Rights in New York | What You Need to Know

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Custody can be complicated for all members of a family- including grandparents. In some cases, grandparents will need to request a visitation order. Read on to learn more about grandparents’ rights in New York.

How is custody determined?

In New York, there are two main forms of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child spends most nights of the week. The parent who is awarded physical custody is known as the “custodial parent.” In some cases, parents will choose to split physical custody equally. Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions in their child’s life. In order to make a decision about custody a court will consider some of the following factors:

  • Each party’s ability to provide financially for the child
  • The stability that each parent can provide
  • The ability of the parent to act in their child’s best interests
  • Each party’s relationship with the child
  • Each party’s history of domestic violence and substance/ alcohol abuse
  • Each party’s mental and physical health
  • Each party’s work schedule and lifestyle
  • The health and age of the child
  • The preference of the child, if of sufficient age

What is a visitation order?

In rare cases, a parent will be deemed unfit. If this occurs, the fit parent may be awarded sole custody. This can impact the child’s relationship with the other parent and that parent’s family. As a result, a grandparent may need to request an order for visitation. When making a decision about a visitation order, the court will consider some of the following factors:

  • 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 need to request a visitation order, our firm is here to help. Reach out to our firm to speak with an experienced family law attorney.


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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