The Legal Rights of Grandparents
While parents have the final word on the decisions that are made regarding their children, there are certain rights that grandparents can attempt to enforce as well. These rights could depend on the marital status of the parents. If they are married, they could jointly decide to deny you any time with your grandchildren, and the court can do nothing to interfere, so long as those parents are not considered unfit.
Even if your child is divorced or deceased, the court will still take the wishes of the parents extremely seriously. However, in these situations, courts can override the parents’ wishes regarding grandparent visitation. In these situations, you would need to be able to prove that your grandchild’s parent is wrong in restricting your access.
Your success as a grandparent in any court hearing typically hinges on your ability to prove that keeping your grandchild from having a relationship with you is somehow harmful to that child.
Grandparents also have the right to petition the court for guardianship of a child in certain situations. If the custodial parent dies, for example, and you believe that the other parent is unfit to take custody, you can file a suit in court seeking to be appointed as the child’s guardian. The court always puts the best interests of the child first, so you must be able to prove that such an arrangement would in fact be in the child’s best interest.
For more information on the legal rights of grandparents and how to enforce them, consult the dedicated Long Island family law attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.