Throughout the U.S., there are various family structures in which grandparents play a pivotal role in the upbringing of their grandchildren. The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is special, with grandparents serving as mentors who impart values and offer crucial support during family disputes. However, when parents decide to end their marriage, the resulting conflict can often extend to the grandparent-grandchild relationship. When grandparents are denied access to spend time with their grandchildren, they may wonder whether they can obtain visitation rights. Please continue reading to learn about grandparent visitation rights in New York and how a reliable Nassau County Family Lawyer can help you fight to safeguard your relationship with your grandchildren. 

How can grandparents obtain visitation rights?

Fortunately, parents hold the right to participate actively in their children’s lives even if they are not living together, thanks to their parental rights. Unless a parent is declared unfit by the court, they generally have the right to custody or regular visitations, depending on the child’s best interests. However, grandparents’ rights are different. Unfortunately, grandparents do not always have enforceable legal rights to see their grandchildren. Although certain extended family members have legal rights to maintain a relationship with a child, grandparents must meet specific standards set forth by the court to obtain visitation rights.

Nevertheless, if a grandparent believes they are wrongly being denied access to maintain a relationship with their grandchild, they have the right to petition the court to seek visitation rights. Despite holding the right to file a request for visitation rights, it’s not a guarantee that you will be reunited with your grandchild. Grandparents are required to fulfill the burden of proof. Essentially, they must demonstrate that being granted visitation rights would serve the child’s best interests if a grandparent can prove that withholding access to the child and preventing them from having a relationship will cause them substantial harm. The court will usually look at the following factors to determine whether granting grandparent visitation rights is appropriate:

  • The prior relationship between the child and the grandparent
  • The time that has passed since the child has spent time with the grandparent
  • The relationship between the grandparent and the child’s parents
  • The effect the proposed visitation schedule would have on the relationship between the child and their parents
  • The custody or visitation arrangement between the child’s parents
  • Any history of abuse or neglect
  • The good faith of the request
  • Any other relevant factors

As you see, the court will consider various factors to determine whether they should award visitation rights to a grandparent to protect the child’s best interests.

If you’re being denied access to your grandchildren, please don’t hesitate to contact a skilled Nassau County family lawyer from the Law Offices of Eyal Talassazan, P.C., who can help you fight to maintain your relationship with your grandchildren.