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Grandparent Visitation Rights: What Rights Do Grandparents Have?

As a grandparent, you may enjoy spending time with your grandchildren. You may have them over for frequent sleepovers, take them on vacations, pay for sports activities and buy gifts. You may have developed a strong bond with them.

But then the parents split up. One parent may get custody of the children and move far away from you. You don’t see the grandchildren as often as you once did. You ask the parents to see them, but your pleas fall on deaf ears.

You may wonder: what rights do grandparents have? There is no easy way to answer this question. Each state has its own statutes in place when it comes to grandparent visitation rights. Some states favor grandparents, while others favor the parents. For the most part, United States law allows parents to raise their children as they see fit. The government tends to not get involved in these sorts of matters.

If you’re a grandparent in New York, is there anything you can do so you can visit your grandchildren, or must you wait until they are 18 years old before you can see them again? Read on to learn about New York law.

What the Law Says

In New York, grandparents have the right to ask the parents for visitation rights so they can see their grandchildren. This does not, however, mean that the request will be granted.

You may want to try other options first, such as talking to the biological parents or using mediation. Mediation programs are available in every county in New York. In some cases, they are even free.

If neither of these options work, you can try petitioning the court for visitation. This is a two-step process.

The first step is to show proof of standing. This can be proven in one of three ways:

  1. One parent is deceased.
  2. The grandparent already has a good relationship with the grandchild.
  3. Both biological parents have blocked the grandparent’s attempts to have a positive relationship with the grandchild.

The second step is to prove that it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with the grandparent. You can accomplish this by focusing on the positive connections you have made with the grandchild. You can talk about activities you have done in the past or plan to do in the future.

It may be a good idea to have a lawyer review your petition to ensure that it meets the specifications. Once completed, the petition must be filed in family court in the county where the child lives.

Contact a Family Law Attorney Today

After a separation or divorce, grandparents may experience difficulty seeing their grandchildren. Spending time with them may be a challenge, but the right legal help can assist you in developing the relationship you once had with your grandchildren.

Brooklyn family law attorney Theodore Alatsas ESQ can help you assert your rights to see your grandchildren. If you’re having trouble getting either parent to allow you to see your grandchildren, he can help. To learn more about your New York grandparent visitation rights, call his office at (718) 233-2903.