You can go to court and file a petition for visitation as a grandparent. Either you and your daughter will work something out or there will be hearings and a judge will determine what action would be in the best interest of the child. Good luck.
I have been a criminal attorney in New York for almost 25 years. website: Brooklynlaw.net Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.
That's a sad situation, and as Mr. Schwartz says, you can ask for Family Court to intervene and require visitation. But keep in mind that grandparents don't really have rights to "visitation" or to be "part of a child's life" unless the Court finds that would be "in the best interests of the child".
What I'm suggesting here, as politely as I can, is that if the child's parents or guardian, especially your daughter, want you to have visitation (that is "consent" to visitation and help in facilitating it), your chances for having this work out for you as frequently and not awkwardly as you'd like would be greatly increased than if your daughter is opposed. The fact that "you were never really part of her life", as you put it, suggests to me there could be hard feelings on your daughter's part about you having abandoned her and not lived up to your parental responsibilities that at least she thinks may have been appropriate.
Amends and apologies and maybe some family therapy (or you seeing a therapist or clergy for some suggestion) here might be very helpful in repairing some of the damage that has probably been done and fixing what's broken in your family before asking strangers like a Judge to make things right when the parties are objecting and protesting.
That's my 0.02. There are some personal issues here as well as legal issues, and grandparents don't have many legal rights unless the parents are being abusive or neglectful of the child and there's a reason for the courts or Child Protective Services to intervene to involve the grandparents in the child's upbringing.
A family court lawyer could be helpful at a stage when there's been some attempts at reconciliation in your own parent-child relationship. Fortunately, people do change and attitudes can soften if there are attempts to express regrets, apologies and make amends. Most people would prefer to have good relations in their families, even if regrettable things happened in the past.
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Grandparents have no absolute right of visitation, and the survival of a petition for grandparent custody and whether it will be granted is wholly discretionary with a judge and a strong prior relationship with the child is a prerequisite.
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