Long Island Grandparents’s Rights Attorney

With the increase of divorce and less typical family structures, grandparents’ rights is an issue that is appearing in court more and more frequently. The law on the issue is quite complex, and individuals fighting for a relationship with their grandchildren may face an uphill battle.

Positive Influence

Traditionally, grandparents have held an important role in the family. As the oldest living relatives, they were looked up to, and their opinions and thoughts were respected. Even in our current time, many children enjoy very close relationships with their grandparents. Their life experience gives them an abundance of wisdom to share, and their role allows to them to interact in a positive way with the children without having to dispense the discipline associated with their parents.

Threatened Relationship

Unfortunately, death or divorce can create a serious threat to this relationship. When a parent dies, is incarcerated, or loses custody in a divorce, his or her spouse may not permit their in-laws’ continued involvement in the lives of the children. Typically divorce settlements provide visitation rights for the non-custodial parent, but only rarely is any mention made of the grandparents. Recent court cases have also failed to make provision for the rights of grandparents. In 2000, a dispute between grandparents and a widowed spouse went all the way to the Supreme Court. The ruling was made that the surviving spouse had the right to determine who was allowed to spend time with her children. This case was a grave discouragement for the advocates of grandparents.

Remaining Options

Despite these discouraging scenarios, grandparents are not without options. Most states do allow individuals to request visitation rights if it can be shown that the relationship is in the best interest of the child. While some states require grandparents to have assumed a parental relationship with the child, others are less stringent. The law of New York is rather briefly stated and so is open to a variety of interpretations. Regardless, grandparents do have the option to request custody and/or visitation rights for their grandchild. Because of the difficulties inherent in this issue, it is essential that individuals retain the services of an experienced family lawyer. A competent attorney can evaluate a particular scenario and provide advice on the best options for that individual.

If you are facing the loss of a relationship with your grandchild, the law firm of Divins & Divins, P.C. is ready to help. Contact their office today for a free consultation and find out what you can do to exercise your rights as a grandparent.