Grandparents Rights Attorney in Rochester, NY
Dedicated Rochester Family Lawyer Helping Protect The Custody and Visitation Rights of Grandparents in New York
Michelle Cimino of The Cimino Law Firm has sat across the table from countless grandparents who wanted nothing more than to see their grandchildren. These grandparents were being kept from their grandchildren for a myriad of reasons ranging from obstacles put in place by the parents to the death of a parent. While the circumstances were different, the result was the same. These grandparents were dealing with indescribable pain and wanted to know their rights.
Fortunately, grandparents do have rights in the state of New York. Grandparents can request court-ordered visitations with their grandchildren, and in some cases, they can get custody. The Cimino Law Firm has reunited countless grandparents and grandchildren over the years. This is one of the most satisfying aspects of practicing family law in Rochester. Both the grandparents and the grandchildren win when they are reunited. It is fulfilling to watch their faces light up once the legal process is finished, and they are brought back together.
What Are My Visitation Rights as a Grandparent?
New York is one of the most liberal states regarding grandparents rights. Grandparents can request visitation if certain circumstances are met.
First, they can request visitation if one or both of the parents have passed away, and they have a substantial relationship with the children. When one or both parents die, grandparents often get left out in the cold. The surviving parent might think meeting with the grandparents will be too painful for the children, or in the case of losing both parents, the new caregivers might sever the relationship. Fortunately, the courts can step in and fix this issue.
Second, grandparents can also request court-ordered visitation if the parents are still living but have interfered with the relationship. For instance, if the parents refuse to let the grandparents see or even speak to their grandchildren without a valid reason, the courts can step in. This is true, even if the parents have prevented the grandparents from establishing a relationship with the children. As long as the lack of a relationship is not the grandparents’ fault, the courts might grant visitation.
The court only grants grandparents rights to biological or adoptive grandparents. Great-grandparents cannot take advantage of this law. Also, the court only intervenes when it is in the best interest of the grandchildren.
What If the Child Has Been Adopted?
Many grandparents think they don’t have grounds for visitation if their grandchild has been adopted into another family. They feel hopeless and try to imagine a life without their grandchildren.
Fortunately, grandparents rights don’t disappear just because a child is adopted. Grandparents can still seek court-ordered visitation, even if the grandchild is living in an adopted home.
How Are Grandparents Rights Cases Proven?
The burden of proof to receive visitation rests on the grandparents’ shoulders. They must show that it is in the child’s best interest for the court to order visits. Fortunately, you do not have to prove this on your own. Michelle Cimino has more than 20 years of experience fighting for grandparents rights in New York and can help you establish your case.
The burden of proof begins with the legal grounds for filing the request. Many requests are submitted after one or more parent dies. Death is the legal ground for the application. However, if the parents are living, grandparents must prove that they have an existing relationship with the grandchild or one or more parents has prevented the grandparent from establishing one.
Establishing the legal grounds for the request is the first step. Next, the grandparent must prove that it is in the grandchild’s best interest to spend time with his or her grandparents. Research has shown that children with strong bonds to their grandparents are less likely to suffer from behavioral and emotional problems. And they are also more likely to get along with their peers. However, citing research is not enough. The court will also look at other factors, such as the child’s wishes, the distance the child must travel for the visits, and the physical and mental health of all parties.
The court will also take a close look at the grandparents. The court will analyze the past and present relationship the grandparent has with the parents and grandchildren and the grandparent’s overall attitude toward the parents. This will also impact visitation rights.
This can seem overwhelming for grandparents who want nothing more than to spend time with the grandchildren they love. At The Cimino Law Firm, we understand the emotional toll this takes and will be by your side to provide support. We don’t just fight in the courtroom. We also help our clients navigate this complicated process. We are your legal team, and your support system rolled into one.
What is Kinship Care? – Another Aspect of Grandparents Rights
Grandparents rights can extend beyond receiving court-ordered visitation. In some cases, grandparents will fight for sole custody of their grandchildren. In the state of New York, 165,493 children live in a grandparent-headed household without a parent present. If your grandchild is in harm’s way, this can be a viable option.
Again, the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the grandparent. The grandparent must prove that the parent is unfit or has abandoned or surrendered the child. Persistent neglect or extended disruption of custody is also grounds to file for the care of the grandchild.
If you are concerned that your grandchild is not receiving the proper care at home, it is time to step in. Our team will investigate the case for you and determine if you have legal grounds to request custody.
Why Choose The Cimino Law Firm for your Grandparents Rights Case?
Grandparents rights cases are among the most difficult of the family law cases. The burden of proof must be met, and the courts must determine that visiting or living with the grandparent is in the best interest of the child.
With more than two decades of experience trying grandparents rights cases, The Cimino Law Firm is the right choice for your situation. Our firm makes the process as easy as possible for grandparents.
We understand that fighting a grandparents rights case can be exhausting and overwhelming. We make the process much easier by providing potential clients with a free phone consultation. You can speak to one of our attorneys, who will let you know if you have a case. If you do, the attorney will explain how he or she will move forward.
You will have to come into the firm to provide an interview and documents, but we even make that easy. We have locations in Rochester and Webster, NY making it easy to stop by. Also, with office hours that run until 6 pm, you can fit the trip into your schedule.
We also have the compassion and experience necessary to try your case. We will be your shoulder to lean on during the process, and we will also tirelessly work for you in court. When you use The Cimino Law Firm, the burden of proof doesn’t rest with you. It is our job to investigate and present your case.
Contact us today for a free consultation. The grandparent-grandchild bond is an important one, and we will help you see your grandson or granddaughter again.