New York Grandparent’s Rights Lawyer
In the past few years, the rights of grandparents have received a bit more focus. This is largely because many grandparents have less access to their grandchildren and want to know exactly what rights they have toward them. In Long Island and everywhere else in the state of New York, the rights of the grandparents are not recognized over those of the parents. Generally, parents have the right to decide who has access to their children and grandparents are not given fundamental rights to visit with their grandchildren as a result. However, when there are visitation issues, being able to see their grandparents is in a child’s best interests. Grandparents are legally permitted to request the right to see their grandchildren as well.
Why Grandparents Don’t Get Automatic Visitation Rights
One of the chief reasons that grandparents don’t automatically get visitation rights is that courts usually assume if the parents are competent, they will act in the best interests of their child. However, if a grandparent believes that visiting their grandchild is in the child’s best interest, they are required to prove that the parents’ denial of that visitation is not in the best interests of the child. Usually, in such a situation, the parents and grandparents come to an agreement through the mediation process.
It’s important to note that for the case to be in the favor of the grandparents, they must be biologically related to the child or related by adoption. Great-grandparents and step-grandparents generally don’t gain access to visitation as per the law. The grandparents must also have an established relationship with their grandchild to be granted visitation rights.
What Do the Courts Consider for Grandparents’ Visitation Rights?
The court takes certain factors into consideration when determining what is in the best interests of the child. First and foremost, the court considers the child’s wishes. A child may desire to see their grandparents more often but may not be able to due to certain circumstances. If that causes a feeling of distress in the child, the court will take that into consideration and say that it is in the child’s best interests to visit with their grandparents.
Children can benefit both emotionally and physically from regular visits with their grandparents. In some situations, a grandparent might even be in a better position to provide certain needs the child has than the parents can or will do. Additionally, after a divorce or the death of a parent, children can greatly benefit from having regular contact with a child while they are coping with the reduced contact or loss of that parent.
What Else Do Courts Consider?
While some grandparents may want to help their grandchild financially, many attorneys advise against handing over an early inheritance or other money to secure visitation. In such a situation, the court may view this move as the grandparent using their grandchild as property. It is wise for the grandparent to seek legal representation to gain visitation rights.
Sometimes, the grandparents may be granted an even more active role in the child’s life because of the child’s circumstances at home. Children who live in troubled homes may certainly benefit from having access to their grandparents, making things easier for them.
Of course, a strong relationship between the grandparents and the child are among the most important aspects in determining visitation. If the grandparent ever had custody of the child, that’s also a big factor.
Virtual visitation is also recognized in Long Island and in New York in general. Tools like Skype and FaceTime are useful applications that allow the grandparents and child to have contact when they live long distances from each other or when someone has failing health.
If you are a Long Island grandparent who wants the right to visit with your grandchild, contact a New York family law attorney at your earliest convenience.