Grandparent Rights and Guardianship

Grandparent Rights and Guardianship

Darren M. Shapiro, Esq. can provide effective advice and representation about your grandparent or relative custody, visitation or guardianship cases in Nassau and Suffolk County Long Island, Queens County and the surrounding areas. His prices are reasonable and competitive in light of his years of years of experience as a family law attorney. This office strives to obtain the best solutions for your grandparent visitation, custody or guardianship case as expeditiously as possible.

Sometimes quick settlements are obtainable on a case. Other matters require some fighting before an agreement can be made. Throughout the process, Darren will give you honest advice about your situation and case while advocating hard to protect your interests.

This office pays attention to when to negotiate and when to litigate. Darren can be an aggressive litigator when it is called for, but is always willing to work out settlement terms that help his clients. As your lawyer, Darren will work with you to choose the most appropriate actions at the right times. If it is possible, a consent order can be a victory for everyone. After all, the parties to a case are usually forever bound by their children. Sometimes, however, settlements are not possible and it is time to litigate. When it is time for battle, Darren will fight hard for you.

If there is a dispute between a parent and a non-parent over the custody or guardianship of the child, a non-parent can have custody awarded to them if a New York court finds that extraordinary circumstances exist. If these extraordinary circumstances exist, then a court must weigh the best interests of the children to decide who should be in charge of the care of the child in each case. There is not a big distinction, in New York, between “guardianship” or “custody” of children, but since there are differences in other jurisdictions, special attention should be given to the terms when relocations are likely. Generally the term custody is used for relatives while guardianship can refer to relatives (like grandparents, aunts and uncles) and non-relatives. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably.

A frequent area of contention is the rights of a grandparent to visitation with their grandchildren. For a grandparent to be able to move ahead with a visitation case, a New York Family Court or Supreme Court must decide whether or not the grandparent has “standing” for the case to be heard. Standing is the right to be heard in court on a particular issue. If the court finds that the grandparent does not have standing, then the case should be dismissed. Thus, great care should be taken to formulate the arguments for and against standing. This office is familiar with and pays careful attention to the standing issue as it could make or break a grandparent visitation case from the outset.

If one of the child’s parents has died, then a grandparent automatically has standing to proceed with a visitation case in New York. Otherwise, a court needs to find that equitable circumstances require that a court should get involved and listen to the grandparent visitation request. Cases in which a court should intervene could be extended disruption of custody by one of the parents, abandonment by a parent, unfitness of a parent, and other scenarios. The best interests of the children, as always, is the standard used to decide a grandparent visitation case if the grandparent is found to have standing to be heard.

The wishes of a “fit” parent about the topic of grandparent visitation are supposed to be given a presumption by a New York Court as in the child’s best interests. This presumption can be overcome and the issue of whether the parent is in fact fit can also be a source of contention. “Special weight” is to be given to a fit parent's desires about grandparent visitation. The court, however, has final say over whether or not a grandparent visitation order is in a child’s best interests.

Darren M. Shapiro, Esq. has experience litigating grandparent visitation issues and will bring his knowledge to help you with your case. Child support, orders of protection, and other family law topics might also be relevant in a guardianship, visitation or grandparent’s rights case. Please click around the rest of the website and our blog for information and answers to common questions on these subject areas.

Call for a free initial consultation with a caring lawyer about the rights of grandparents, relatives, family, and friends regarding custody, visitation, or guardianship in Long Island, New York City and the surrounding areas. Consultations may be done over the phone or in the office. Parties that are interested in mediating their guardianship, custody, and grandparent rights issues should schedule an appointment together for a half hour no fee consultation. It would be our pleasure to speak with you about your case.

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