Grandparents custody and visitation rights after divorce
Do grandparents have the right to see the kids after a divorce? Well, normally, the law seems to suggest that it is the parents’ right to decide who their children will associate with. Even as high up as the Supreme Court of the United States has looked at the issue of whether a parent can stop a grandparent from seeing the grandkids. The Supreme Court pretty much said yes they can. The court found that a parent has a fundamental right to raise their children–that includes the right to decide if the child will see grandma and grandpa and how often–a right that is protected by the due process clause of the constitution so long as that is balanced with the child’s best interest. So for example, if a child was obviously being harmed by the parents, or no visitation at all was allowed under circumstances where it should be allowed, the court might find a compelling reason to allow the visitation.
In New York, there is such a thing as the grandparent visitation statute. So the Courts recognize that grandparents may have standing to challenge a parents’ decision not to allow grandparents to see the grandkids. The court will give the parents desire a lot of weight, as they are required to do by state and federal constitutions. However, a grandparent should not think that just because there is a grandparent statute that it means they can see the grandkids whenever they want. A parent still has the last word and so long as they allow some visitation their preference for the amount of visitation gramps gets with the grandkids will be upheld. If the parent does not allow any visitation at all, the court may order it if it is in the best interest of the child. Of course, this will be balanced with the relationship between the parent and grandparents. The grandparent will get visitation, normally, so long as things between parent and grandparent are not so vitriolic that it would be “in the best interest of the child” to keep parents and grandparents apart.
So gramps and grandma better be nice to the daughter in law. Or else.