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Westchester County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyers

New York Grandparents’ Visitation Rights

Has a divorce or family tragedy put your relationship with your grandchild in jeopardy? If so, then you need to understand your grandparents' rights to visitation of your grandchildren.

Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights in NY?

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 unconstitutional.

There are currently only two circumstances under which you may sue for visitation rights:

  • 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) includes 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.

Speak with a Grandparents' Rights Lawyer Near You – Call (914) 873-4410 Today to Schedule a Consultation

Visitation Rights Are Not Automatic for Grandparents

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.

Parents Have the Final Say

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. Only the court can overrule the parent's decision, which is where suing for visitation rights comes into play.

Grandparents' Rights to See Grandchildren in Foster Care

NY FCT § 1081 protects the rights of grandparents who want to visit a grandchild who is in the foster care system:

  • No Visitation Order – Grandparents can petition the court for visitation.
  • Preexisting Visitation Order – Grandparents can visit their child(ren) in foster care, or petition for enforcement of visitation.

There Is Hope—Call a Westchester Lawyer for Grandparents' Rights

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.

Our Westchester County visitation attorneys at Friedman & Friedman are 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.

Seeking grandparent visitation? Call (914) 873-4410 or contact us online for a consultation with a grandparents' rights attorney in Westchester County. We’ll help you understand your options.

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