In New York, grandparents can petition for visitation rights with their grandchildren if the child's parents are divorced. Grandparents can also seek custody of their grandchildren in special circumstances. Generally, however, parents have a presumptive right to the custody of their children and the power to decide where and when a child will see his grandparents.
In New York, the courts presume that the proposed visitation schedule between the child and her grandparents as set forth by the child's parents is a good one and presumptively better than the proposed schedule requested by the grandparents. However, grandparents are typically granted the right to visitation at divorce, meaning the parent of the child must set aside some time for the child to visit with her grandparents.
Applying for Visitation
If a grandparent is denied visitation rights, he must file an application requesting visitation rights with the court in the county where the child resides. In the event a grandparent has one grandchild in one county and another grandchild in another county, the grandparent will have to apply for visitation rights in both counties for each child individually.
Best Interests of the Child
In determining the child's best interest, the court will consider the relationship between the child and his grandparents, the relationship of the child's parents with the grandparents, the amount of time that has elapsed since the child last saw his grandparents, the effect visitation will have on the child, including the child's relationship with his parents, whether the child's parents are divorced or separated, the custody arrangements for the child and any past history of neglect or physical, emotional or sexual abuse by the grandparents.