What to Know About Grandparents’ Rights in New York

A heartwarming embrace between a smiling elderly woman and a young child bathed in golden sunlight, symbolizing unity and support that even the best Nassau County child support lawyer strives to achieve.

When a decision is made by New York courts regarding child custody, the best interest of the child is always considered first and foremost. If a grandparent worries that a custody decision will keep them from seeing their grandchildren, they may be seeking to request a visitation order. Continue reading to learn more about grandparents’ rights in New York.

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

Physical custody refers to the parent with who the child resides the majority of their time while legal custody refers to the right a parent has to make important decisions in a child’s life. These decisions may include choices regarding education, religion, and medicine. In some cases, one parent will be granted physical custody. This parent will then be known as the custodial parent.

Who can request a visitation order?

Only certain extended family members facing a hostile custodial parent can request visitation rights. The family members who can request visitation rights include siblings, step-siblings, and grandparents. The extended family member must be able to establish that by withholding access to the child, the custodial parent is not acting in the best interest of the child. Family members who are not able to request visitation rights include cousins, aunts, uncles, and stepparents.

What factors will be considered?

New York courts will consider the following factors when making a decision regarding visitation:

  • The relationship between the parents and the grandparent
  • The relationship between the child and the grandparent
  • The good faith of the grandparent while applying
  • The time-sharing arrangement between the parents and the child
  • The effect the visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents
  • Any history of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) or neglect by the grandparent
  • If one parent is deceased, the court may consider the time-sharing agreement that was previously established with the deceased parent
  • The amount of time since the child last saw their grandparent and the reasons for any lapse in contact
  • Any other factor pertaining to the best interests of the child

If you are seeking visitation rights as a grandparent, it is important that you reach out to an experienced family law attorney to learn more about grandparents’ rights and how you can file a visitation order. Give our firm a call today to schedule your initial consultation with our team.


Barrows Levy PLLC is a highly experienced New York law firm focused on providing quality legal services to clients in New York City and Long Island. If you need a Nassau County lawyer who has significant experience handling family and estate planning matters, we are ready to help. Contact Barrows Levy PLLC to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today. 

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