Obtaining Visitation Rights as a Grandparent

Grandparents can have a very positive impact on their grandchildren’s lives. However, a divorce can interfere with how often they can see their grandchildren. If you wish to maintain a healthy and regular relationship with them, seeking legal advice can help you find ways to continue seeing your grandchildren.

An experienced family law attorney has a thorough understanding of what rights you have as a grandparent and how to negotiate a visitation schedule. They may also recommend venues to discuss whether and how you may stay in touch with your grandchildren outside of court if it fits your situation.

What Does the Law Say About Grandparents’ Visitation Rights?

There is no federal law regarding grandparents’ visitation rights, and each state has its specific statutory guidelines. There is usually a degree of leeway to account for each family’s particular conditions and both child’s and parents’ desires regarding the grandparents’ involvement in the child’s life.

US family law keeps the child’s best interests central to any court ruling, and parents usually have primary authority over how to raise their children, including after a divorce or legal separation.

Since the law protects parental rights, it does not include automatic provisions for grandparents’ visitation rights, and each case requires individual review.

When Do Grandparents Seek Visitation Rights?

Parents usually have the final say about who gets to spend time with their children, even if the person who is requesting access is a biological relative. Unless a parent is legally unfit or dies, grandparents are not usually part of the visitation schedule organization.

If your adult child is denying you visitation for personal reasons or a disagreement, trying to address the problem on your own is generally an appropriate first step. Even if you and your adult child may not find much common ground, you may be able to reach an agreement on seeing your grandchild under specific circumstances.

Should you find it challenging to communicate, you can try mediation before choosing legal action. It minimizes expenses and avoids having to go to court. When pursuing this option, a neutral third party can assist you and your adult child figure out a legally binding agreement that permits you to be involved in your grandchildren’s lives. While it may not change everything, mediation may open the door to maintaining contact with your grandchildren, even if it does not involve in-person time.

How Do I Obtain Visitation Rights to See My Grandchild in New York?

If mediation has not yielded the results you were hoping for or your situation would rather benefit from legal action, family law attorneys can provide effective representation. In most cases, you have the right to see your grandchildren, but every situation is unique.

Factors that can impact grandparents’ visitation requests include whether:

  • Their adult child (the grandchild’s parent) is still alive
  • There are any current visits, and if so, what their frequency is
  • Previous visits have stopped
  • There was a pre-existing relationship between grandparent and grandchild

Like in most other states, New York prioritizes legal protections for parents over grandparents’, but if the grandparents can show they are a positive influence in their grandchild’s life, they may gain visitation rights to continue the relationship.

If you need legal advice about your visitation rights as a grandparent, contact Arnel Law Firm today at (718) 550-3024 to schedule an appointment in Brooklyn.