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As a Long Island Divorce and Family Law Attorney, I typically find that strong family ties can truly make all the difference in a child’s life, especially when dealing with his or her parents’ divorce. In many Long Island families, grandparents play a large role in a child’s life. For many children, their grandparents are a steady source of love and support throughout the child’s formative years and beyond. When a family is strained by a divorce, both grandparents and grandchildren may become concerned that the relationships they have established with each other will become threatened. This concern is heightened when dealing with a contentious divorce, where the parents may be fighting over custody of the children. What happens if mom gains fully custody, but dad’s parents want to see the children?

Are Grandparents Permitted to Seek Visitation with Grandchildren?

According to New York Statutory Law, courts on Long Island may provide for the reasonable visitation rights of the maternal and/or paternal grandparents. After proper notice is given to the parents or guardians of the children, the court may require visitation rights for the grandparents if it is in the child’s best interests. The best interests of the child standard requires that if the court believes the visitation would be harmful to the child, such visitation will not be allowed.

What if I Don’t Get Along with the Children’s Parents?

Situations in which parents and grandparents do not get along are not shocking to the court. In those cases, parents may seek to object to the child’s grandparents seeking visitation rights. While the court will certainly look to the reasons for such an objection, the objections themselves will not be dispositive. The court will look to all relevant facts, including the extent of the grandparent-grandchild relationship, before determining whether the grandparents should be allowed visitation rights. It is important to remember that, as always with issues involving custody and visitation rights, the court’s main concern will always be the best interests of the child.

What if the Parents Cannot Properly Care for the Child?

Unfortunately, situations where a child is not being properly cared for by his or her parents is not uncommon. Contained within New York’s statutory laws governing grandparent visitation is language that states that after a grandparent proves to the satisfaction of the court the existence of extraordinary circumstances, the court may award visitation and/or custody to the grandparents.

There are a multitude of situations in which a grandparent may be able to prove “extraordinary circumstances.” These may include situations in which the child’s parents are the subject of a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation, are in the custody of the Sheriff’s Department, have abandoned the child, or are suffering from substance abuse. In these cases, the court would prefer to keep the children in the care of family members in an effort to minimize the tumultuous situation. If the court believes that, given the surrounding circumstances and facts of the case, it will be in the best interests of the child to grant visitation or even custody to the grandparents, it will do so.

Questions About Child Custody and Visitation on Long Island?

To learn more about what you need to know about Child Custody on Long Island, visit this page on Child Custody or contact us at 631-923-1910 for a complimentary consultation.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney to Assert your Rights as a Grandparent

As with all custody and visitation matters, asserting your rights as a grandparent is a complex and intricate matter. In order to fully protect your rights, you should seek the help of an experienced Long Island Family Law Attorney. When you set up your free consultation with us, we will discuss the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding your case in order to get a better understanding of your situation. If you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights with your grandchild, please Call our office today at 631-923-1910 to schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our experienced Family Law Attorneys.

Download Your Free New York Divorce Guide

Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer, Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better.

Download your Free Guide to New York Divorce here.