New York Grandparent Visitation Rights

Grandparents play a major role in many families, especially if they contribute to raising their grandchildren. But what happens when a grandchild's parents file for divorce or legal separation? 

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in New York? 

In the State of New York, grandparents can request court-ordered visitation if (1) one or both parents pass away, (2) there is a significant existing relationship with their grandchild, or (3) the grandchild’s parents have interfered with their attempts to create or preserve a relationship. 

If one or both parents die, then grandparents would automatically obtain visitation rights. If one or both parents are living, grandparents must show the court that there is an existing relationship with their grandchildren or the child’s parent(s) have impeded such a relationship from existing. 

Once grandparents establish legal grounds to request visitation, they must demonstrate that spending time with their grandchildren is in their best interest. Common factors include the child’s age, the distance between the child’s home and the visitation site, the past and current relationship with the child and parent9s), and the mental and physical health of each party (including the child). 

Keep in mind, the parents’ preferences are given great weight in court. However, a hostile relationship between a child’s parents and grandparents is not strong enough to deny a visitation request. 

How to Start the Legal Process 

You must first file a petition with the court – which includes a proposed visitation plan – and notify your grandchild’s parents or anyone with custody of the child. If you want to add more time to an existing order or the child’s parents is withholding visitation, you can request the court to modify or enforce the order. 

If you are interested in obtaining grandparent visitation rights in Yonkers, contact Empire Law today at (914) 312-4131 and let us help you obtain the most favorable outcome in court. Schedule a free consultation immediately!