Since the visitation rights of grandparents are not protected under the Constitution, court decisions on this issue are by no means uniform. Rifts between parents and grandparents that stem from substance abuse, death, divorce and law breaking can greatly affect a grandchild's relationship with their grandparents. If both parents are in agreement that grandparents should not see their grandchild, then the court almost always side with the parents, citing the precedent of
Troxel v. Granville. This case granted fit parents the right to make "decisions concerning the care, custody, and control" of their children.
Courts will sometimes allow grandparents to make petitions in this situation if they can prove that a relationship with their grandchild is best for the child or lack of this relationship would cause damage. Though studies by the National Committee for Grandparents on Children's Rights (NCGCR) and other organizations show that children with a grandparent have an increased sense of self-esteem, it is difficult for grandparents to produce hard evidence to prove that their involvement is beneficial to the child.
States do often allow the grandparents to petition for visitation rights in the case of the divorce. According to Judge Glenn Derryberry, divorce is a separate event that gives a cause for the case to be in court in the first place, therefore it is a distinct issue. In this situation, grandparents are more likely to have rights, but the court is required to give special attention to the wishes of fit parents.
Many grandparents are concerned with the well-being of the grandchildren as they seek visitation rights, wanting them to be healthy and happy throughout their childhood. If you are a grandparent who is seeking visitation rights do not hesitate to contact a family law and divorce lawyer from the Meyers Law Group, PC, in Long Island. They will compassionately guide you through a complex and emotional legal to protect your rights and fight for your best interests.