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Grandparents’ Rights

It would be overly simplistic to think that the only people affected by a divorce are the splitting couple and their children. In reality, a divorce has a significant impact on the whole community surrounding the marriage, from friends to neighbors to the parents of the divorcing couple.

Depending on the circumstances of the family, the parents of the divorcing couple can be especially impacted by the dissolution of a marriage. Not only are they seeing their own children going through a difficult time, but they are also watching their grandchildren being impacted by an emotionally wrenching situation.

If your son or daughter is going through a divorce, and you want to make sure that you get to continue to play a role in the lives of your grandchildren, getting in touch with a family law attorney can help.

Grandparents' Rights in a Divorce

Grandparents, and sometimes also non-parent relatives like aunts and uncles, have only a limited set of rights in a New York family court. Unfortunately, New York only allows for a grandparent to have visitation rights, not custodial rights. Additionally, a grandparent's rights only tend to come into play in one of two circumstances:

  • One of the grandchild's parents is deceased, or
  • Circumstances are so extraordinary that the court thinks intervention by a grandparent would be wise

Two-Part Test for a Grandparent's Visitation Rights

If either of these circumstances is in play, it only gives you the option to pursue your rights as a grandparent. You still have to petition the court to grant you your visitation rights, which it will only do if you satisfy a two-part test:

  1. Granting you visitation rights as a grandparent is in the best interest of the children, and
  2. You have a pre-existing relationship with the children.

With respect to your relationship with your grandchildren, a court will look to all of the relevant factors in your rapport with them at the time of the divorce. When considering the best interests of the grandchild, though, a family court will pay particular attention to his or her wishes and needs, as well as the past behavior of the child's parents.

Family Law Attorneys Push for Your Rights

Even though exercising your visitation rights as a grandparent are an uphill battle, the family law attorneys at the Bombardo Law Office will push for your cause. Contact us online or call our office at (315) 488-5544.

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