Bronx Grandparent Custody Lawyer

Grandparents sometimes seek custody of their grandchild, because they think the child would have a better life with them. They may believe the child is in danger, because a custodial parent is abusive or neglectful. Or sometimes a parent leaves the child with a grandparent and does not return. There are a variety of reasons grandparents may seek custody of their grandchild, but if you are even considering seeking legal custody, you need an experienced Bronx grandparent custody lawyer. Your attorney can explain your options and what a court is likely to require. If you decide to move forward, you will need an attorney to represent you before the court.

Normally, of course, custody matters are between the parents of the child, and there is a presumption of parental rights. However, if a court has good reason, it will sometimes find that the best interests of a child are served by giving child custody to the grandparents or another guardian.

Circumstances Where Grandparents Might Get Custody

Courts in the Bronx or anywhere in New York don’t suspend or terminate parental rights lightly, and will do so only when a child is at risk. However, there are times when it is in the best interest of the child to place them with someone other than the parents, and sometimes grandparents may become guardians of the child. Grounds for giving child custody in the Bronx to someone other than the parents is established by New York law. These grounds include:

  • The parents are unfit, possibly due to alcohol or drug abuse.
  • The parents abandoned the child.
  • The parents have left the child with the grandparents for a very long time.
  • The parents have neglected or abused the child.
  • The parents have agreed that the grandparents should have custody.
The Process of Determining Grandparent Custody in the Bronx

If a judge determines that custody should go to someone other than the parents, it is not a given that the grandparents will get custody. Still, the first step is for the grandparent’s attorney to prove to the court that the child should be taken from the parents at least temporarily. Though it is not the most important factor, a court will examine the relationship between the child and the grandparents. It is up to your attorney to put evidence of this before the court. Grandparents with a strong relationship with the child are much more likely to get grandparent custody than those who do not.

At the hearing on the matter, the grandparents’ attorney may present evidence such as calling witnesses including expert witnesses and submitting documentation to the court. As in any case involving a child, the court will make a decision of where to place the child based on that child’s best interests. Factors the court may consider include age and health of the grandparents, relationship of the child with the grandparents, motives for wanting custody and mental condition. Grandparent custody is not necessarily permanent; if the parents or one of the parents can change their circumstances to offer a good, stable home to the child, a court is very likely to return the child to the parents at some point due to the legal presumption in favor of the parents having custody of their child.

What to Do if a Court Denies Grandparent Custody

Should the judge deny the grandparents’ petition for custody, it may still grant them visitation privileges even against the parents’ wishes. In a Bronx or any New York court, grandparents can petition a court for visitation privileges if one of the parents is dead, they have a very strong relationship with the child or the parents have interfered with their efforts to have a relationship with the child. However, there is a presumption in favor of the custodial parent’s decision on this matter. Grandparents seeking visitation rights have the burden of proof to show such visits are in the best interests of the child despite the parent’s objections.

Bronx Grandparent Custody Lawyer

If you are a grandparent who believes you should have custody of their grandchild, you have the burden of proof. It is critical that you seek the consul of a very good Bronx attorney experienced in grandparent custody matters. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates are experienced in all areas of family law including all types of custody. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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