What Are My Rights As a Grandparent?

When a family splits up, or a parent dies, the grandparents naturally want assurance they can continue to spend time with the children, too. While this might not be a problem for some couples, with others, there are attending issues that must be dealt with on a legal basis. State laws vary on the particulars, but in New York, grandparents are permitted to apply to the court for visitation when one or both parents die, or in or in any circumstances which warrant to equitable intervention of the court. In all other cases, grandparents have standing to petition only if they can show that it would be equitable for the court to intervene. This requires the court to look at the nature and extent of a grandparent’s existing relationship with the grandchild, and whether it is substantive. In a case where the parents have objected to the contact with the grandparent, it is even more difficult.  It places is a heavy burden upon the grandparent to demonstrate efforts to maintain the relationship with the child, even though their efforts may have been unjustifiably thwarted by a parent.

If the court then grants standing to a grandparent, an analysis is then performed by the court as to whether it is in the child’s best interest to grant grandparent visits.

Children’s Best Interests

The family lawyers in Garden City NY at Fass and Greenberg, LLP., will help to work through the issues and ensure quality outcomes that protect the children’s interests. Both sets of grandparents ideally should be able to visit with the children as long as they are able to establish an existing relationship with the child, or sufficient efforts to establish a relationship that may have been unjustifiably frustrated by a parent.

 

Location and Travel

If the children live a considerable distance or out of state away from the grandparents, a schedule will be needed to determine when the children can visit the grandparents or vice versa, and who will pay travel expenses. The grandparents will need skilled legal guidance to help families to create a reasonable visitation plan that includes grandparents so that no one is excluded. Involving extended family can often help children navigate a parental breakup by providing added security and support.

Scheduling Arrangements

With busy schedules, it can be difficult to make time for extended visitation when shuttling the kids between both parents and two sets of grandparents. Working with a family law attorney who is experienced in such cases can expedite the process and develop a visiting schedule that works for everyone involved, taking into account summers and school semester breaks.

Family breakups are never easy. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys at Fass and Greenberg can facilitate grandparents’ visitation rights to maintain solidarity within the extended family. Children benefit in continuing long-term relationship with close relatives like grandparents.

 

Pending Legislation

There is pending legislation in New York which would establish the intent of the legislature to generally defer to parental choices regarding the care, custody and control of their children, mandate that the death of a parent as a factor when considering a grandparent’s standing to receive visitation or custody, and direct that costs be payable by an unsuccessful petitioner where a contest was brought in bad faith. This is all the more reason for you to contact our office today to schedule a consultation with our skilled and experienced family lawyers in Garden City NY to help navigate you through the process.

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