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Child custody can be an incredibly complicated matter. While custody situations can be hard on parents and children alike, other parties are affected as well. In many cases, grandparents will want visitation rights when it comes to their grandchildren. Read on to learn more about grandparents’ rights when it comes to child visitation in New York.

Can any family member request an order for visitation?

The state of New York will not grant just any family member the right to have visitation with the child in question. The only parties who can file a petition seeking an order for visitation include the following family members:

  • The child’s parent
  • The child’s grandparent
  • The child’s sibling
  • The child’s step-sibling

Generally, other family members such as stepparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins will not be awarded visitation rights by the state of New York, no matter how close the relationship is.

How Do Grandparents Receive Rights?

Grandparents who want visitation rights to their grandchildren are required to follow a certain process. This process will start with filing a formal motion with the court. When this happens, the court will consider a variety of factors to determine if visitation should be allowed. This can include the following:

  • The relationship between the parents and the grandparent
  • The effect the visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents
  • The time-sharing arrangement between the parents and the child
  • The relationship between the child and the grandparent
  • Any history of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) or neglect by the grandparent
  • The amount of time since the child last saw their grandparent and the reasons for any lapse in contact
  • If one parent is deceased, the court may consider the time-sharing agreement that was previously established with the deceased parent 
  • The good faith of the grandparent while applying

It is important to note that when it comes to making these decisions, the courts will act in the best interest of the child. 

How do I Begin the Process?

You must file a “petition,” (formal written request) with the court in the county where your grandchild lives. In your petition, you will describe your proposed schedule for court-ordered time. Once you’ve filed your request, you must give notice to everyone involved, including the child’s parents and anyone else that may have filed for custody.

If you would like to begin the process of filing for grandparent visitation rights, contact our firm today to speak with an experienced attorney.

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