Divorce is increasingly common in today’s social landscape, and lots of emphasis and attention is rightfully placed upon the best interests of children. Child custody is a primary issue for divorcing couples and sometimes becomes very contentious. However, often overlooked in the child custody and visitation scenario are the children’s grandparents.
What rights do grandparents have when it comes to visitation when a couple divorces? How can grandparents assert these rights and ensure they still get to see their grandchildren even after a divorce? These are difficult questions to answer, but grandparents do have rights when it comes to visitation with their grandchildren. Here are some facts to know about grandparents and child visitation following divorce.
Grandparents and visitation in New York
Each state legislates differently when it comes to grandparents’ visitation rights following a divorce. In New York, grandparents can have court-ordered visitation rights under certain circumstances. The grandparents must have an appropriate legal basis, or standing, by which to sue for visitation rights. The court says that when one parent is deceased, the grandparents have standing to sue. Otherwise, the court must find that there are extraordinary circumstances that warrant court-ordered visitation.
Clearly, this is a complex area of the law and grandparents who wish to investigate whether they have legal standing to sue should contact a family law attorney with experience working with grandparents and visitation.
Key elements to consider in grandparents’ visitation
The court will look at many types of circumstances in a grandparents’ visitation case. If abuse or neglect is a factor, this will play a critical role in the decision. However, even if specific evidence or instances of abuse or neglect are not present in the situation, the court may find other circumstances where it is in the child’s best interests to have court-ordered grandparent visitation.
This is an area where a skilled family law attorney can also be essential in helping grandparents understand how to assert their rights before the court, to show that circumstances warrant a specific order for visitation.