When Can Grandparents Be Awarded Child Visitation?

Many grandparents treasure the relationships they maintain with their grandchildren. Sometimes, however, this precious connection can be disrupted. After a divorce, the custodial parent might not want or care to see their ex-spouse’s family, and the non-custodial parent might have a limited visitation schedule with their children, during which they will want to concentrate on maintaining their own connection. For any of these reasons, grandparents may need to seek court assistance in preserving their ties with their grandchildren.

In limited circumstances, grandparents may obtain visitation rights in New York. Whether you’re related to your grandchild by blood or through adoption, you may petition the court in the county where your grandchild lives for visitation rights if one or more of the following is true:

  • At least one of the grandchild’s parents has died.
  • You have a pre-existing and substantial relationship with the grandchild that you want to maintain.
  • The parent or parents of the grandchild are interfering with your relationship.

You will shoulder the burden of proving these grounds, which can be difficult if either of the grandchild’s parents objects. You also need to prove that the court’s granting of visitation will be in the best interests of the grandchild. In making this determination, the court weighs a number of factors, including:

  • Your grandchild’s age
  • The mental and physical health of you, your grandchild, the grandchild’s parents, and of anyone else involved with the grandchild
  • Your past and present relationship with the grandchild and his or her parents
  • Your ability to care for the grandchild
  • Your attitude toward the grandchild’s parents
  • The views of the grandchild, if old enough to express it, and of his or her parents

To have a reasonable chance of your petition succeeding, you will need the help of a New York family law attorney skilled in grandparents’ visitation rights cases. Your attorney will develop and present persuasive evidence in your favor and will work to rebut any arguments against visitation that may be raised.

The Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. in Rochester, New York has deep experience in child visitation cases, including those involving grandparents’ rights. Please call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online for a free consultation.


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