While divorce can be messy for the spouses involved, it can also be a stressful time for the grandparents of their children. A divorce can have a substantial impact on the relationship a grandparent has with their grandchildren. Sometimes one spouse will decide to cut off communication between grandparents and their grandchild. If you are a grandparent who wants to take legal action to preserve the bond and relationship you have with your grandchild, you should consider the following things.
Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?
The answer to this question isn’t always straight forward. There isn’t a consistent hard rule that gives grandparents the absolute legal right to visit their grandchild. For example, a grandparent can’t file for visitation rights when the parents of the grandchild are still married. There are exceptions though, like when the parents are living separately or when their whereabouts are unknown. Your rights as a grandparent aren’t absolute, so don’t assume that you are entitled to visitation rights.
What Will Courts Consider for Grandparents Who Want Visitation Rights?
Consideration for visitation rights is different in each state. In general, most courts will look at what the best interests of the child is when making a decision about grandparent visitation. Courts usually make a determination based on:
- The child’s relationship with the grandparents
- What the child wants
- The reasons the parents have denied the grandparents access to the child
You should consult with an attorney in your state to find out what laws apply to your situation.
Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights?
If you want to obtain custody of your grandchild, you will only be able to do so in extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances include:
- The grandchild’s parents are deceased
- The grandchild’s parents are mentally or physically unfit to raise them
- The grandchild’s parents have given physical custody rights to the grandparents for a continuous period of at least 24 months
Are you a grandparent seeking custody or visitation rights? We can help. At Friedman & Friedman, Attorneys at Law, we understand that the laws in New York make it very difficult for grandparents to get the visitation or custody rights they seek. Our legal team is dedicated to helping you preserve your relationship with your grandchild. We can help you build a strong case and ensure that your interests and rights are well defended. Let us put our skills to work for you.
Contact our Westchester County grandparents’ rights attorneys to schedule a case consultation today.