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Grandparents' visitation rights in a New York divorce

Studies have shown that in these hard economic times, grandparents are playing a larger financial role in their children's lives. Many grandparents here in New York provide regular monthly support to their children on behalf of their grandchildren. However, if their child gets a divorce, the grandparents' rights to see their grandchildren are not guaranteed.

It has always been true that when a couple gets divorced, it affects more than just the couple and their children. Often, the whole family is affected. These days, more and more grandparents are stepping up to replace the missing spouse in both time and money. Grandparents will provide much needed financial support in addition to moral support, but that support does not always equal time with the grandchildren.

Grandparents around the country and in New York sometimes find themselves bartering for time with their grandchildren with money after the parents have divorced. Since grandparents are not automatically guaranteed the right to see their grandchildren, they are at the mercy of the custodial parent. Most state statutes, while constantly changing, provide limited and often vague guidelines for court ordered grandparent visitation.

In the majority of cases, the courts are hesitant to interfere in the parental relationship when it comes to grandparents. However, that doesn't mean that it can't be done. The New York statute regarding grandparents' rights is no exception. However, it does allow for visitation agreements to be made by the parties and may order visitation for grandparents in limited circumstances. Grandparents who want to make sure that they are able to see their grandchildren may want to seek advice and assistance in formalizing visitation.

Source: Reuters, "Grandparents, purse strings and divorce," Temma Ehrenfeld, July 23, 2012

  • Situations similar to those described in this post are the type our firm handles. To learn more about our practice, you may wish to visit our Poughkeepsie grandparents' rights page.