When a couple with children gets divorced, it is rarely just the nuclear family unit that is affected. Grandparents may end up spending considerably less time with their grandchildren because parents may not want to continue their relationship with the “ex’s” parents. Fortunately, many states recognize grandparents’ rights under family law. Below, Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law in Rochester explains how it works in New York.
The Best Interests of the Children
In New York, family law recognizes that parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit. This includes controlling who spends time with them; however, the courts also recognize that awarding grandparents visitation can sometimes be in the best interests of the children.
Grandparents can secure visitation rights in certain circumstances.
A Pre-Existing Relationship
Grandparents pursuing visitation rights must establish they had an existing relationship with the kids. The court wants to see a functional and well-established relationship between the grandparent and grandchild before considering whether it is in the best interests of the child to award visitation. The pre-existing relationship must be established before best interests can be considered.
A judge will consider if a prior relationship is established, and that the parents may be trying to keep the grandparent from the child, thus damaging the relationship. They will also take the child’s wishes into account, depending on age. However, grandparents should understand that parents have a Constitutional right to determine and control access to children, and to determine how they are raised. Absent any abuse or neglect by parents, “grandparent’s rights” are limited, and in New York, if there was no pre-existing established relationship, may not exist at all.
If you want to learn more about grandparents’ rights or child custody arrangements, turn to Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law. This seasoned family law attorney is proud to help clients throughout Monroe County resolve complicated legal disputes. When you hire Thomas Corletta, you get Thomas Corletta; he personally handles every case his criminal and civil trial practice accepts. Visit his website to learn more about all his areas of expertise, including criminal defense and bankruptcy. Schedule an initial consultation by calling (585) 546-5072 today.