Search Site
Menu
The Custody Rights of New York Grandparents

The 2010 U.S. Census indicated that 4.9 million children under the age of 18 in this country are living in grandparent-headed households.  Even for the majority of children who live with their parents, studies show that more grandparents than ever are providing day care to a grandchild on a regular basis and/or are assisting with their grandchildren’s daily living costs.

Despite the trend of increased support and involvement, under the law a grandparent’s right to custody or visitation is tenuous at best.  Ever since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Troxel v. Granville, which struck down a Washington State law permitting the courts to award grandparent visitation despite parental objections, states have been reluctant to give their courts the ability to interfere with the rights of parents to make decisions about how to raise their children. As a result, most state laws permit their courts to order grandparent visitation or custody only under very limited circumstances.

Under New York Law, grandparents may petition a court for custody or visitation only if:

  • Either or both of the parents of the child are deceased, or
  • Under exceptional circumstances, when it is in the best interests of the child

Once either of the above conditions is met, the petitioning grandparents must then overcome a presumption that the parents know what is best for their child.  This involves convincing the court that visitation would be in the child’s best interests by, for example, demonstrating that the child has an established relationship with the grandparents and that the parent’s reasons for opposing visitation are unfounded.

In reality, grandparents have very little standing to request custody. In cases where the parent has voluntarily relinquished care of the child and the child lives in the grandparent’s house for at least two years, the grandparents may be able to petition for custody of the child. Courts may review individual cases where the child has lived with grandparents for less than two years, but custody is generally limited to cases where the grandparents can show clear abuse or neglect by the parent.

The courts’ highest priority when deciding custody is to determine what situation suits the best interests of the child. This includes grandparents – you may be able to win visitation or custody with the services of a highly experienced New York family law attorney. Call my office and I can help you determine whether you have a good chance in court.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Randy  S.  Margulis Attorney Photo
Randy S. Margulis
Member

As a Buffalo divorce lawyer for 25 years, I have devoted myself to solving the problems that affect families throughout the Buffalo metropolitan area and Western New York. As a family law attorney, I make it my goal to create a partnership of trust with my clients. People put their trust in me to handle cases that can potentially have a long-lasting impact on not only their lives, but the lives of their family as well.

Reviews & Ratings
  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Divorce is always an unpleasant event and my case was no exception, yet the guidance, professionalism and ethical strategy that Randy Margulis provided was essential in finding the best solutions for my children, my ex-wife and myself. As the proces...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Divorce is always an unpleasant event and my case was no exception, yet the guidance, professionalism and ethical strategy that Randy Margulis provided was essential in finding the best solutions for my children, my ex-wife and myself. As the proces...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Randy Margulis is knowledgable of Domestic Law, dedicated, responsive, personable, aggressive and effective. I came to him on a friend's recommendation as well as Randy's reputation, and during the initial consultation I liked his approach and track ...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Found Mr. Margulis to be a very organized and professional individual to work with. He is well-respected by his peers and is spoken of highly, I believe this helped with my divorce and made things go smoothly. I would highly recommend his services ...

    Read more

    Client

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    Randy is very firm and effective in court while empathetic to his clients. I am a domestic violence victim, and Randy made me feel safe and protected. My financial award was more than I envisioned it to be when I started my divorce. I can't thank ...

    Read more

    Client

See all reviews
AWARDS
BUFFALO / WESTERN NY
  • Niagara
  • Tonawanda
  • Amherst
  • Cheektowaga
  • Hamburg
  • Lancaster
  • Orchard Park
  • West Seneca
  • Akron
  • Batavia
  • Clarence
  • Kenmore
  • Lockport
Contact us

Quick Contact Form