Do grandparents in New York have custody rights?

When you have a grandchild, making sure that grandson or granddaughter receives the best care possible may become one of your main priorities. If you, for example, suspect that your grandchild’s parents are abusing your grandchild, or conversely, abusing substances, you may wish to obtain custody to keep your grandchild safe.

There are numerous other reasons, too, why you might want to assume custody over your grandchild, but there are certain elements you will need to demonstrate and certain steps you will need to take to initiate the process. Ultimately, there are two main things you will need to prove if you wish to assume custody over your grandchild. First, you will need to prove that extraordinary circumstances are at play that warrant the change in custody. Next, you will need to show that living with you would be in your grandson or granddaughter’s best interests.

Deciding factors in custody cases

While judges in New York will typically weigh a broad range of factors when issuing custody decisions, the two outlined above often carry the most weight. So, what types of situations might constitute “extraordinary circumstances?” If your grandchild’s parents voluntarily surrender custody over him or her, this will typically count as an extraordinary change in circumstances. Situations where the parents abandoned their child, or situations where the parents have significant disabilities that prevent them from providing adequate care, may also meet these guidelines, among other examples.

Once you can show that extraordinary circumstances exist, you will need to demonstrate how granting you custody would be in your grandchild’s best interests. You can expect that the court system will consider factors such as the child’s age, his or her own preferences and your own physical and psychological health and ability to provide a stable home environment before making custody-related decisions.

If you can prove that there are extraordinary circumstances at play that would make living with you more beneficial for your grandchild, you may be able to successfully obtain custody rights over him or her.

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