Family Law

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Poughkeepsie Grandparents' Rights Lawyer

NY'S Grandparent’s Visitation Rights

As a grandparent, you likely have a desire to have an ongoing relationship with your grandchildren and your children. Unfortunately, sometimes a divorce or other break within a family unit makes it difficult for children and their grandparents to remain connected.

Fortunately, New York recognizes that grandparents have certain rights when it comes to maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren.

If you are a grandparent who has been denied access to your grandchild, Klein & Sanchez may be able to help you. Our experienced Poughkeepsie grandparents' rights lawyers can inform you of your rights and can even help you fight for those rights in court.

Want to learn more about your rights as a grandparent? Reclaim your rights by getting in touch with our Poughkeepsie grandparents' rights attorney today!

What are My Grandparent Rights in NY?

Grandparents in New York have the right to petition the court for visitation rights.

One or more of the following circumstances must be true for the court to approve your petition:

  • One or both parents die
  • They have a significant relationship with their grandchild
  • The child’s parents have interfered with their relationship with their grandchild

In general, two types of laws exist at the state level that may impact visitation:

  • Restrictive: allows grandparents to seek visitation rights only if the parents have divorced or if one of both of the parents have passed away.
  • Permissive: a grandparent can request visitation even if both parents are alive or are still married.

Can Grandparents Be Denied Visitation?

As the law now stands in New York, you may petition the Family Court for visitation with your grandchildren IF the parent(s) are denying you or unfairly minimizing your contact. In order to prevail on your petition, there are two levels of proof you must present at trial.

First, you must show that you have either played a regular role in the child’s life OR that you tried to play such a role, but were prevented by the parent(s) from doing so. Once you have demonstrated this, the question becomes what is in the best interest of the child(ren). As long as the role you have historically played was a positive one, the court will usually award visitation. The court will want to see, for example, that you have regularly sent (or tried to send) birthday and holiday cards and/or gifts.

However, in cases where the parents can show that the grandparent uses drugs, abuses alcohol or has engaged in abuse or neglect, the court will often deny visitation. Other questions of grandparental “misconduct” create a gray area and courts differ about what they will do in those circumstances.

One common example is where the grandparent(s) are badmouthing or countermanding the parent. In such cases, the court will sometimes grant visitation, but with the caveat that such behavior will not be tolerated and will result in termination of the visitation rights.

  • “He listens to our needs and fights hard for us!” - Ernie and Cindy
  • “My life has turned around for he best in a short period of time with Steve's help. My attorney for life!” - Julie
  • “Thanks to him, I have kept my kids safe and happy, my house, and my life…and am forever grateful.” - Caryl Panzanaro

    How Much Visitation Time Do Grandparents Get in New York?

    Courts usually grant one or two days of visitation per month to prevailing grandparents. The Judge may also decide that the children may have periodic phone conversations with the kids. In at least one case, I was able to convince the Judge to award my client (a grandmother) one week of visitation each Summer, so she could take the children home to North Carolina to visit her son’s extended family.

    Her son had passed away, leaving her estranged daughter-in-law as the sole custodian of the children. Without this order, the mother had no intention of ever allowing the children to spend time with, or get to know, their father’s side of the family.

    A few examples of how we can help you maintain or obtain grandparents' visitation rights include:

    • Illustrating the positive influence you have on the grandchild
    • Proving that you have an existing relationship with the grandchild
    • Showing that the relationship with the child is beneficial

    Lawyers Representing Grandparents in NYS

    In the case that you are seeking custody due to tragic circumstances, you will need to illustrate why custodial rights should be given to you. This may be as a result of an unforeseen death or due to a parent being deemed unfit. Whatever your unique circumstances, you will need sophisticated legal assistance and our Poughkeepsie grandparents' rights lawyers are here to assist you.


    If you would like to learn more about your rights as a grandparent, contact our firm today at (845) 203-2287 and set up an appointment for a free case consultation.


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