How a divorce can separate you from your beloved grandkids

Posted by Lauren S. CohenMay 21, 20200 Comments

When your child got married, you probably welcomed your new son- or daughter-in-law into your family with open arms. Unfortunately, as the relationship between your child and your in-law began to devolve over the years, your relationship with the other parent of your grandchildren may have also begun to deteriorate.

In the event that your child and their spouse get divorced, you could end up in a position where you don't have access to your grandchildren. Thankfully, provided that you already played a role in the lives of the children, you can potentially ask the courts to step in and permit you visitation after a divorce.

Although sole custody is uncommon, the courts can still order it

In New York divorces, the courts want to create a custody arrangement that will focus on the best interests of the children. Most of the time, the courts try to keep both parents involved and will encourage shared parenting.

However, in a situation where your child has previously struggled with addiction, where their spouse accused them of abuse or where they simply didn't seek their right to shared custody, your former son- or daughter-in-law may become the sole custodial parent.

They may decide to cut you out of the lives of the kids as a way of erasing all reminders of your child from their life. If they take that approach, you may need to ask the courts to grant you visitation.

Grandparents have the right to seek visitation after a divorce

Visitation isn't just for non-custodial parents. Under New York family law, family members who play a significant role in the lives of minor children can, theoretically, ask the courts for visitation as part of a divorce or after a divorce when they realize they won't get to spend time with the children anymore.

As with any other custody or visitation ruling, the courts try to focus mostly on what will be best for the children. Provided that you have an existing relationship with the children and that you don't pose any risk of harm, the courts are likely to grant a grandparent's request for visitation for as long as their grandchildren are minors.