Westchester County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyers
Helping Families Keep Themselves Together
If a divorce or family tragedy has put your relationship with your grandchild
in jeopardy, you need to understand your rights as a grandparent to visit
them. Unfortunately, New York is one of the most restrictive states when
it comes to grandparent visitation rights. In 2001, an appeals court ruled
that the law which originally provided for grandparent visitation was
As a result, there are only two circumstances under which you may sue for
- If one of the parents is deceased, OR
- If circumstances make your intervention beneficial for the child
It’s worth noting that of those two conditions, one is very clear-cut
and the other is as broad as the law can get. The broad condition (if
circumstances make intervention necessary) include situations where grandparents
have previously had long-term care or custody of their grandchildren—at
least 24 months. Parents who have been abusive, neglectful, or absent
create “extraordinary circumstances” under which a grandparent
may sue for visitation rights when their custody lasted less than 24 months.
Who Gets Visitation Rights?
Note that “grandparents’ rights” in other states refer
to general visitation rights for non-parental relatives. In many New York
courts, grandparents’ rights are limited exclusively to natural
grandparents or grandparents-by-adoption. Also note that you have no legal
right to visitation—you simply have the right to
sue for visitation.
The distinction is small but meaningful—it means the court is under
no obligation to grant visitation rights to grandparents. In New York,
parents are the final authority on who is in their children’s life,
even if you disagree with the decision.
There Is Hope—Call a Westchester Family Lawyer
New York law makes it incredibly difficult for grandparents to win visitation
rights. The burden of proof is on their shoulders, and “fit parents”
are presumed to be 100 correct in their decisions to cut off contact with
grandparents. However, that doesn’t mean your case is hopeless.
New York may be strict, but the courts
will still rule in grandparents’ favor…if you can prove that your
presence is in your grandchild’s best interests.
Friedman & Friedman is determined to help you strengthen your ties
with your grandchild. We’ll build a case that highlights every positive
effect you have on your loved one’s life, addresses the potential
issues with the parent’s decision to cut you off, and proves your
visitation rights would be proper, necessary, and beneficial.
Do you know if you have the grounds to sue for grandparent visitation?
Call (914) 873-4410 or
contact us online for a consultation. We’ll help you understand your legal and familial options.