New York gives grandparents sought-after rights

Posted by Lauren S. CohenOct 08, 20190 Comments

Divorce divides families and may result in a total severance of some of the ties with extended family and friends. When it comes to dealing with former in-laws, however, the trend is much more disheartening.

Grandparents, who once may have played an integral part in the now-defunct family unit, may suffer loss, as well. If the bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren suffer as a result of the divorce, many older adults may wonder if they can do anything to repair it. Under New York statutes, grandparents may petition for legal visitation with their grandchildren. See how this law may work in your situation.

When can grandparents petition for visitation?

If your son is no longer with the mother of your grandchildren, you may see the kids less. The once-strong relationship between you and the grandkids may have broken. New York law allows grandparents to request the court to grant them visitation under three situations:

  • The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren was once strong and needs restoration.
  • The parents have not allowed the grandparents to have a relationship with the kids.
  • One or both parents die without leaving a direct link to the grandchildren.

The right to petition a judge for visitation rights is only for direct grandparents and not great-grandparents, step-grandparents or others.

What must grandparents prove to get visitation?

Because the grandparents began the court proceeding, they have to prove they have legal standing and a fundamental right to visit the grandchildren. One of the three situations above must fit the case. Once grandparents establish standing, they must show it is in the children's best interests to have a meaningful relationship with their grandparents. Proving this may come down to showing a strong existing relationship, asking the children their opinion and wishes, and the logistics. A judge may then decide to grant the request.

Grandparents play a vital role in the lives of their grandchildren. When this relationship suffers because of divorce or death, a court may restore what the grandparents once had.