The New York courts have held a natural parent has a right to raise his or her child and the child has a right to be raised by his or her parent. However, under special circumstances, New York state gives standing to Grandparents to seek visitation with their grandchildren. These special circumstances are:
1. when either or both of the child's parents are deceased; or
2. when conditions exist which equity would see fit to intervene.
In a recent decision, Honorable Elaine J. Stack of Nassau County Family Court determined that a grandmother was entitled to parenting time with her grandchildren, after her son deceased and the mother refused to let the grandmother to visit with the children. The testimony during the hearing revealed that despite the mother's contention that the grandmother posed a "grave danger" to the children, that the children and grandmother had a strong relationship prior to the death of the Father. The Court also noted that an acrimonious relationship is generally not a sufficient cause to deny visitation. (Matter of J.P v. E.B.)
If you want to explore your rights as a grandparent, contact our office to speak to a lawyer today.