What are the Visitation and Custody Rights of Grandparents?
The state of New York values the role grandparents play in the lives of grandchildren. That is why grandparents may seek assistance from courts throughout the state in order to obtain visitation of their grandchildren.
However, the court always considers the best interests of the child first. If a fit, immediate parent such as a father or mother exists, the court will, in many cases, favor their wishes. Yet if a grandparent is the primary caregiver of a child, that grandparent may even be granted custody of the child with the help of an experienced and aggressive team of attorneys because, in some cases, grandparents may actually be the best possible caregivers for their grandchildren.
Below are the factors the court considers when looking at the custody and visitation rights of grandparents:
- The ability of the grandparents to meet the needs of the child
- The preference of the child if he or she is old and capable enough to express it
- The distance between the child and the grandparents
- The strength of the relationship between the child and the grandparents
- Evidence of physical or emotional abuse by the grandparents
- Evidence of substance abuse by the grandparents
- The length of the relationship between the child and the grandparents
You should never take visitation or custody rights for granted. If you are a grandparent, and you are seeking visitation rights or custody of your grandchildren, it is in your best interests to retain competent, trustworthy—and forceful—legal aid as soon as possible.