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Do grandparents have visitation rights in New York
September 24, 2018
GRANDPARENT VISITATION IS WITHIN THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE COURT WHERE NO PARENTS HAVE DIES IN THIS CASE
In a Second Department case in New York the court held that the grandfather lacked standing to petition for visitation where the children's mother had never frustrated his visitation. There, the court found that Grandfather lacked standing to petition for visitation with his grandchildren, since the children's mother had never frustrated his visitation with them ab initio; rather the mother merely set forth the conditions of the visitation with the grandfather by asking the grandfather to not bring the grandmother along on the visit. Moreover, in another case called Ordona v. Campbell the court held that grandparent visitation needed to be terminated where the grandmother had failed to obey court orders and exhibited a strong animosity toward the Father and the grandmother tried to undermine the father’s relationship with the child.
That said, this should not discourage a grandparent from filing for visitation if the parents are both denying contact with the child after you have formed a positive and substantial bond with the child. This precept was demonstrated in an interesting New York Third Department case of Monroe v. Monroe, decided in 2017. There, the court suggested that Grandparents would have the right and standing to bring a petition for visitation if they could establish that they have a long substantive existing relationship with the grandchildren, or in cases where the parents are frustrating their contact with their grandkids. On those facts a court can likely intervene in the interests of the best interests of the child.
Moreover, in another Second Department case in New York the court held that a grandmother had standing to ask for visits with the grandkids where she showed the court that she had a long-standing relationship with the child and where the child's father unexpectedly died.
The lesson to be learned here is that while grandparents do not always have automatic standing to sue for visitation, where equity permits and you can prove your relationship should be continued in the child’s best interests the court might grant it.
By: Your Manhattan Custody Lawyer Lisa Beth Older