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Do Grandparents Have Rights in a Divorce?


New York family law courts are always concerned with what is in the best interests of a child when his or her parents are going through a divorce. While most of the time child custody and visitation matters involve only the parents, if it is better for the kids, a grandparent’s rights will also be considered. Such situations may be uncommon but they are not unrealistic.

Grandchild Custody Petitions in New York

A grandparent that wants to exercise their right to see or raise their grandchildren must first show the court that there is a legal standing to do so. In a divorce, legal standing is established by some sort of unusual and dangerous or negative circumstance being present. For example, if a child’s mother travels the world for her career and the child’s father is incarcerated, the court could deem that a grandparent is best suited for primary custody. That is, of course, if the grandparent petitions to earn that responsibility.

In other situations, grandchild custody can be easily resolved, such as when both parents voluntarily impart custody rights to a grandparent. This can actually speed up the process, as it gives the court less reason to question the legitimacy or necessity of the grandparent’s petition. Outside of a divorce, a grandparent may also gain custodial rights if both parents of their grandchild have passed away.

Grandparent Visitation Requirements

In terms of gaining grandparent visitation rights, the legal battle, if one unfolds, is more uphill. The grandparents are responsible for showing that their regular or scheduled visitation would be of a substantial benefit to their grandchildren.

Visitation could be beneficial if:

  • The grandchild requests it specifically.
  • A healthy relationship previously existed between the grandchild and grandparent.
  • Parents are too preoccupied with careers to spend adequate time with their children.
Establishing the importance of your visitation and custody rights as a grandparent can get complicated quickly, bringing up legal nuances that even parents don’t need to deal with in a divorce. To pave the way for a smoother legal process that protects and upholds your grandparental rights, work with the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC. Call 845.605.4330 to speak with our Dutchess County family law attorneys today about what is going on in your life and how we can help.