Grandparents' Visitation Rights in New York State
Under the New York Domestic Relations Law, grandparents have the right to visit with grandchildren, even though the parents are not deceased, under the following circumstances:
Grandparents' visitation under Domestic Relations Law, Sec. 72, requires courts to do a two-part inquiry.First, the court must find standing based on death of the child's biological parents, or equitable circumstances"; if the court concludes that the grandparents have established the right to be heard, then it must hold a hearing to determine if visitation is in the best interest of the grandchild.
How does the court determine if grandparents have standing?In considering whether a grandparent has standing to petition for visitation rights an essential part of the inquiry is (1) the nature and extent of the grandparent-grandchild relationship and (2) the nature and basis of the parents' objection to visitation. Among the factors to be considered are whether the grandparent and grandchild have a preexisting relationship, whether the grandparent supports or undermines the grandchild's relationship with his or her parents, and whether there is any animosity between the parents and the grandparent.
Does the court consider the opinion of the child's parents regarding grandparents' visits?The decision whether an intergenerational relationship would be beneficial in any specific case is for the parent to make in the first instance. if a fit parent's decision becomes subject to judicial review, the court must accord at least some special weight to the parent's opinion. But the acrimonious nature of the relationship between the grandparents and parent is an insufficient basis upon which to determine that visitation is not in the child's best interest.