Family law issues, including child custody, are usually resolved in state courts. Most states follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This act ensures that parents can still enforce their custodial rights even if they move to another state. Custody laws in New York comply with this act and allow for grandparent custody and visitation rights as well.
Not many states allow grandparents and other close relatives to petition for visitation or custody, but New York is one that does. The process for obtaining child custody is very similar to what a biological parent would go through. The grandparent will likely first submit their case to the court and prove that granting then custody would be in the child’s best interests. Older siblings who want visitation rights can also petition the court.
Child custody rights for grandparents in New York are based on the Uniform Child Custody Act of 1977, which indicates that grandparents can have joint custody of their grandchildren or be granted visitation rights. The child’s preferences are also considered in determining custody arrangements.
The best interests of the child are considered first in any custody decision. New York courts consider how capable each parent is of caring for the child as well as each parent’s mental and physical state of health. The work schedules of both parents are typically reviewed in court as well to determine which parent will be able to spend the most one-on-one time with the children.
The judge generally takes into account if there have been domestic violence incidents in the family or signs of neglect before issuing a custody ruling. If a child is old enough to voice their preferences, the court can grant the grandparents custody at the child’s request provided that this is the most beneficial choice for the child.