Grandparents Have Rights Too!
According to Section 72 of New York’s Domestic Relations Law (DRL § 72) grandparents are allowed to apply to the court for custody or visitation where either or both of the grandchild's parents are deceased or in any circumstances which warrant the intervention of the court. Failure to establish one of the above circumstances will result in a dismissal of the visitation request. New York Courts will grant visitation or custody to grandparents if it is in the child's best interest. This is why it is imperative to obtain strong legal counsel that will fight for your rights to your grandchildren. Whether it be a separation or divorce, or a situation in which the parent is unfit to retain custody, we can help you realize the custody or visitation as a grandparent.
Custody is granted to grandparents on the basis that the child is in a situation necessary of intervention, and visitation can be obtained if a parent of the child is deceased. The court does prefer that a biological parent has custody of the child, but should the parent be unfit, it is within the right of a grandparent to petition for custody. In an attempt to provide the child with a more nurturing and safe environment, a grandparent may seek custody int the following extraordinary circumstances:
• The child is physically abused
• One or both parents are deceased
• A parent has a substance abuse problem
• Both parents are incarcerated
• The child is sexually abused
• The child is being neglected, affecting their physical, medical, and emotional health
• A parent is afflicted by a mental illness
• The child is not attending school
When determining who will obtain custody of the child, the court will take into account the moral character, health and mobility, and financial resources of the grandparents. Another important element of these proceedings is the pre-existing relationship one has with their grandchild. Should one have a strong bond with the child, having raised them or lived with them at some time, the grandparent may apply for visitation. Essentially, the Court will determine custody and visitation based on what it considers to be in the "best interests" of the child.
Please note these provisions apply to Grandparents. Anyone that is not a Grandparent, or parent will be considered a "third party."