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Divorce comes with a lot of consequences that are felt beyond the immediate family. Distant kin also suffers the aftermath when a marriage partnership dissolves, especially when children are involved. Grandparents are some of the people who may end up on the losing end regarding visitation. Contact between children and their grandparents is essential unless valid reasons exist why this shouldn’t happen.
Even though parents are the core players in child rearing, the involvement of the grandparents is fundamental for the kids’ well-being. The provisions allowed for grandparents when it comes to the visitation of their grandchildren and even custody vary from state to state. A lawyer in staten island who specializes in grandparents rights is a great investment for someone in such a situation. Learning a few basics of grandparents rights in New York provide ideas on how to proceed when dealing with a legal situation.
Try This Before Petitioning The Court
Before you move forward with a petition to the court for visitation rights, you might try other routes to get visitation with your grandchild. Pursuant to U.S. law, parents generally have a strong constitutional right to raise their own children as they see fit. In light of this, the best way to achieve visitation might be to talk with the biological parents. If that conversation proves difficult to have with them, you might try mediation. Each county in New York has a Court approved mediation program. In many counties, the mediation service is free of charge.
In the world of family law, grandparents have certain legal rights with regards to custody and visitation of their grandchildren. The overarching term that is used to describe the process of becoming a legal caregiver for a child that is not biologically yours is kinship care. Grandparents can petition for and win temporary and permanent custody of children who are their blood relatives if the parents are not able to act in the best interests of the child. The bigger purpose of placing a child with a suitable family member, which is often a grandparent, is to avoid placement of that child in the non-relative foster care system.
New York Grandparents Visitation Rights
NY has more restrictive grandparent’s visitation rights than most states, which makes the expertise of a legal professional that much more critical. Grandparents can only sue for visitation in staten island if they have the proper standing. One instance where a grandparent can sue, according to law, is when one parent dies. This provision is clear cut and usually doesn’t present any legal complications.
The other stipulation states that a grandparent can sue when circumstances indicate that there are “conditions which equity would see fit to intervene.” This provision covers extraordinary circumstances such as the interruption of custody, which refers to cases where a parent relinquished custody voluntarily, and the grandparents lived with the child for over 2 years. Other “extraordinary circumstances” that the courts may consider are abuse and neglect.
Child’s Best Interests
Whatever the grounds for a grandparent seeking visitation or custody, the court will always consider the best interests of the child. The courts evaluate various factors when determining a child’s best interests, and these include but not limited to;
- Potential education opportunities
- Morality of the parents
- Past conduct and behavior of the parents
- Emotional and physical needs of the minor
- Atmosphere at home
- The child’s wishes
- Reasons for parents limiting grandparents’ involvement
Before a court can award visitation rights to a grandparent, it must analyze the type of relationship that exists between the two parties. Grandparents with strong relationships with their grandkids stand better chances of getting visitation, but a myriad of other aspects come into play. The courts look at the level of contact between grandparents and their grandchildren.
If the visitation of the grandparents might affect the relationship between the child and parents, the courts will consider that as well. For example, if grandparents’ visitation will eat away the time children spend with their parents, the court might not give visitation. If the parents have made deliberate attempts to restrict visitation from the grandparents, the courts will want to know why and what bearing that has on the welfare of the child. A staten island attorney can help explain the existing relationship between you and your grandchildren.
Your staten island Grandparent’s Rights Lawyer Can Help You
Visitation rights for grandparents are not always straightforward, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on a relationship with your grandkids because active involvement in their lives is important. Hire a staten island grandparent’s rights lawyer with the prowess and skills to help you fight for your rights. Whether you are seeking visitation or custody, an experienced attorney knows how to approach different cases according to New York laws.
The Burden of Exceptional Circumstances
Grandparent visitation rights are slightly different from custody because grandparents need to prove that one parent is deceased, or they must demonstrate that conditions exist which equity would see fit to grant grandparents visitation. To bear this burden of exceptional circumstances, grandparents must show that they have had a consistent and warm connection with the child, or at the very least, have made attempts to begin a relationship, which was ultimately prevented by the child’s parents and that it is in the best interest of the child that you be permitted to visit with them. On the other side, parents would have to demonstrate that the grandparents are meddling with their care and control over their own child.
Preparing for a Grandparent’s Rights Case
To prepare for potential litigation, grandparents should keep and assemble documents that could strengthen their case. Furthermore, Grandparents should be aware of potential witnesses who may be called to testify. You need a staten island Grandparent’s Rights lawyer to assist with custody petitions, visitation petitions, court appearances, and more. Family custody and visitation matters are inherently complex. What you have read here is just a brief summary of the issues that may arise throughout the legal process.
If you live in staten island and are facing a divorce or child custody situation, you need to do everything you can to get your case together. You can follow a few practicalities which will help you to receive representation for your case, while also doing what’s best for your child.
To make sure that you are receiving credible help in your staten island guardianship case, follow the tips in this article to be sure that you get the assistance that will serve you.
What Does the Term “Guardianship” Mean?
The term Guardianship describes a legal arrangement where the court awards an individual the legal right to make decisions for another individual who may be unable to make decisions for themselves. This individual could be a minor child, an incapacitated adult or a person who has a developmental disability.
In staten island, guardianship cases are dealt with in the Family Court, the Supreme Court or Surrogate’s Court. Which court you will go to depends on the type of guardianship being sought and the person over whom guardianship is being requested.
Some Guardianship Terms to Know
In a guardianship arrangement, one individual is granted the legal authority to make decisions for another.
A Guardian. This is the individual who is authorized by the court to have the legal right to make decisions on the other person’s behalf. To become a guardian, you must be over the 18 years of age and be a legal resident or citizen of the United States. A person who has a criminal record might not be able to serve as a guardian. A Court will make the final decision of who can be the guardian.
A Ward. This is the individual for whom the Guardian is given authority to make decisions. A Ward may not possess the cognitive or communicative capacity to make sound decisions for themselves or be capable of giving their informed consent for personal, medical, or financial matters. The Ward can also be spoken of as the Guardianee.
The Four Types of Guardianship in staten island
In staten island, a guardian can have guardianship over different aspects of a ward’s life:
Guardian of the person. The guardian of the person can make life choices on behalf of the ward. Some of these choices involve health care, education and welfare decisions.
Guardian of the property. The guardian of the property of an individual takes care of decisions surrounding the ward’s money, investments and savings as directed by a Judge. A guardian of the property is obligated to file a report every year regarding the ward’s property.
Guardian of the person and property. This type of guardian holds responsibility over both the ward’s life decision and the ward’s property.
Guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem would be assigned by a Judge to act on behalf of another individual during a court case when they are not able to defend their rights or protect their own interests themselves.
Who the Ward is and how much help that individual needs doctates which court a guardianship case gets filed. It can be filed in Family Court, Surrogate’s Court, or Supreme Court.
Start shopping for lawyers in staten island that deal with guardianship cases
By contacting attorneys in staten island that handle guardianship cases, you are giving yourself a fighting chance in a court of law. Make sure that you have a list of these family law firms in staten island, in order to begin speaking to plenty of different representatives. The more that you shop with these lawyers, the easier it will be to see which are the most skilled and professional.
If you need some assistance hiring a lawyer, start out by consulting with Todd Spodek in order to see how he can serve you. Reaching out to this law firm matches you up with more than five decades of legal experience, which is an excellent beginning to any guardianship case. Todd Spodek understands this area of law and will happily provide you with assistance, so that you are putting together solid evidence and making the most of your legal needs.
Entering a Petition for Guardianship of a Child
A guardianship case will be launched when you file an application called “Petition for Appointment of Guardian” in the county where the child resides. This petition can be filed in either Surrogate’s Court or the Family Court. Both the Surrogate’s Court and the Family Court are authorized to appoint a guardian of the person for a child. Nonetheless, if a child requires a guardian of the property, then the petition needs to be filed in Surrogate’s Court. The Judge officially appoints a person to be a guardian by way of a court order called “letters of guardianship”. This order specifies the type of guardianship that has been awarded.
Before any legal guardian can be appointed for a child, both of the parents and the child (if they are over 14 years of age and are not mentally, physically or developmentally disabled) must give their consent. This means that all the parties understand what will happen if a legal guardian is appointed for the child. The Court will take the child’s preferences into consideration when deciding. In some situations, the Judge will appoint a guardian even when the parent or child refuses to give permission or they disagree with the guardianship.
Before You Go To Court
Before you enter a petition in a court, first see what kind of agreement the two of you can come up with outside of court.
Touching base with your child’s mother or father will give you the help that you need to expedite your case. The reason for this is that coming up with agreements is much better than battling it out bitterly in court. Setting up informal conversations or formalized legal mediation will allow you to form an agreement that both of you can enjoy and use.
Aside from filing for joint custody, sole custody and visitation rights, it is important to open these lines of communication so that the two of you are equipped to raise your child together. You will need a certain measure of cooperation, so always be looking for ways to patch things up enough to remain civil.
Make sure you are staying on top of any life changes that happen
Finally, you will need to re-file or amend agreements if certain aspects of your lives change. Making these changes will require you to always stay in touch with your lawyer, in order to get reasonable assistance. The professionals that handle this work will allow you to make quick and easy changes to custody agreements whenever you need them, which will be beneficial every step of the way.
Always keep your attorney on speed dial, just in case.
The tips in this article will be effective in helping you to get great results from your staten island guardianship case. Guardianship is so crucial, because you need to preserve your rights to parenthood even though your relationship did not work out. This is when the courts come into play, and at this point, you will need the assistance of a law firm that can protect your rights. Contact Todd Spodek for more information on how he can help you out.