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Grandparent Visitation and Children's Wishes

How do the Child's Wishes Weigh in on Grandparent Visitation Cases in New York?

SwingChild custody, visitation, and maintenance cases in the state of New York follow a very important standard. Any court, judge, or divorce attorney handling a case involving children must put the best interests of the child or children first in any matter. This simply means that no decisions should be made that might harm the mental or physical health of the child in any way. Of course, there are many different components that go into helping a court decide what the best interests of any child might be. For instance, the courts might consider the earning potential of the parents, the ability of any parent to provide a child with the continued emotional and financial support they need, and even the desires or wishes of the child in question.

As a child custody attorney in New York, Mr. Shapiro has worked on numerous cases wherein the wishes of the child have been considered an important element in the discussion of that child's best interests. Of course, it's worth noting that the child's wishes will only be taken into consideration in a case where the child is deemed to be in a state, or at an age that allows them to make decisions fairly about their future. Even when a child's wishes are considered, they may not be adhered to if the court believes that they're not in the best interests of the child.

The Wishes of the Child in Grandparent Visitation

The desires and wishes of a child can be considered in numerous cases surrounding divorce, including child visitation, custody, and parenting time. Importantly, when it comes to addressing visitation cases in the courts of New York, it's worth remembering that people beyond the parents can also apply for visitation rights. For instance, grandparents may apply for visitation rights when one or both of the parents involved in a case argue against their ability to see the grandchild. In this case, section 72 of the New York Domestic Relations Law can provide guidance on the guidelines that must be followed, along with Section 651 of the Family Court Act.

Mr. Shapiro has plenty of experience as a divorce lawyer dealing with cases that involve complicated relationships between divorcing parties and the grandparents of a child in a visitation case. As he often reminds his clients, there are many complex issues to consider when it comes to determining the possibilities of grandparent visitation. However, grandparents who can show that there are circumstances wherein they should be allowed to see the child can ask to obtain visitation rights. Once again, with grandparents, the decisions that the courts make will be based on the simple principle of " what's best for the child."

As mentioned above, the expressed wishes of a child to continue seeing, or maintain a relationship with a grandparent or grandparents may be considered when determining best interests. However, this isn't always the case. The courts of New York generally give more weight to the desires expressed by older children who understand their circumstances clearly and are capable of making reasoned decisions without the input of a parent disrupting their choices. Younger children can easily be swayed by parents who don't want them to see a grandparent. This concept brings to light an interesting point that comes up in many grandparent visitation cases, regarding the animosity between the grandparents seeking visitation and the custodial parent.

Providing Visitation Rights to Grand Parents

Through years of experience in the New York and Long Island courts, Mr. Shapiro has become very familiar with cases that can help to inform his clients about the nature of child custody and visitation situations. As a child custody attorney, he often draws attention to this information to guide his clients. For instance, in one particularly important case related to grandparent visitation, the courts outlined that in certain cases where the grandparents in question must turn to legal processes to obtain visitation rights, there is likely to be some animosity between grandparents and custodial parents.

Ultimately, the courts understand that the feelings of the parent can often influence the expressed wishes of a child in any case. That's why a child's desires are only a single factor in a range of elements that a court considers during its determination. Although grandparent visitation cases are less common these days, the courts have provided insights into the factors they consider when making their rulings. For instance, they may look at:

  • The emotional and mental impact of a child not being allowed to see grandparents
  • The documented history of conflict that may exist between the grandparents and parent which may negatively affect the child.
  • Whether the grandparents have ever acted as a primary caregiver for the child.
  • Whether the grandparents have been shown to have a positive and nurturing relationship with the child in the past.
Do You Need Help Getting or Opposing Visitation Rights?

If you're currently involved in a case seeking visitation rights so you can spend more time with your grandchildren, it's important to ensure you have the right support at your side. The law and mediation office of Darren M. Shapiro can offer guidance and support into child visitation cases and custody issues. To learn more or book your free (up to a half hour free) initial consultation, please call (516) 333-6555.

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