Many grandparents in New York State that are concerned about the well-being of their grandchildren opt to request court-ordered visitation. Though sometimes these sorts of cases are clearcut, grandparents bear the burden of proof when arguing for visitation. Depending on the circumstances, this can make establishing grandparent’s rights an uphill battle that is best fought with a qualified grandparent’s rights attorney at your side.
Grandparents that have a substantial pre-existing relationship with their grandchildren stand a much better chance of gaining visitation rights. The most common situations in which grandparents will make a case for visitation is during a divorce, breakup, or after the death of a parent. A grandparent’s rights attorney can guide you through every step of the process, but here are some important things to know before getting started.
Death of the Parents
In most cases, if only one parent dies courts will grant custody to the surviving parent. Though grandparents can sometimes successfully argue for custody with the help of an attorney if the surviving parent is deemed unfit, grandparents stand a much greater chance of gaining custody in the unfortunate incidence of the death of both parents. If both parents die, legal grounds for custody are automatically established and the case moves on to the next stage.
Parental Interference in Establishing a Relationship
If one or both parents are living and they have prevented you from creating or maintaining a relationship with your grandchild, an NYC grandparent’s rights attorney can often argue a successful case for legal grounds. However, demonstrating animosity between parents and grandparents isn’t enough on its own to establish legal grounds for custody. Judges highly value the position of the parents in these cases and variables like the existing family structure and the nature of the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild are taken into account. Nonetheless, if one or both parents have blocked your attempts to visit your grandchild you have a much better chance of gaining some degree of visitation rights.
Though this situation is significantly less clear-cut than the death of a parent, New York family law stipulates that if an extended disruption of custody has occurred and the parents have given up control of the child to the grandparents for a period of 24 months or more, then an NYC grandparent’s rights attorney can often successfully argue that extraordinary circumstances exist. This essentially means that because a meaningful existing relationship can be established and the parents have a history of giving up control of the child, it’s easier for a judge to determine that the best place for a child might be with their grandparents.
Best Interests of the Child
After the legal grounds for custody have been established, NYC judges take the best interests of the child into account. This term covers a lot of ground and includes factors such as the child’s age and the child’s wishes if he or she is mature enough to provide a meaningful opinion. If grandparents aren’t taking full custody, the distance between the homes of the parents and the grandparents is taken into account as well.
Other factors taken into account include the nature of the grandparents’ pre-existing relationship with the child and their relationship with the child’s parents. This even includes the type of nurturing that was provided to the parent while they were growing up. The best interests of the child essentially make or break a grandparent custody case, but a skilled grandparent’s rights attorney can help you make the best moves when navigating this complicated subject.
Proving Your Case
It should be remembered that, no matter what the circumstances, grandparents bear the burden of proof when arguing their case for custody or visitation. This means that the deck is inherently stacked against grandparents seeking legal control over the future of their grandchildren. Given the uphill battle that grandparents must fight in order to establish their case, it’s important that they have the help they need right from the very start.
If you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchild or grandchildren, the best way to secure your success is by soliciting the services of a qualified grandparent’s rights attorney. These legal professionals have made it their life’s mission to help grandparents protect and care for their grandchildren. When the time comes to do the right thing for your grandchildren, don’t delay in getting the help you need.
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