Posted On: January 22, 2012 by Stephen Bilkis

Court Rules on Grandparent Adoption Case

A couple got married and had one child. Unfortunately, the father died, and the paternal grandparents were granted visitation rights in the final judgment of dissolution. December of the same year, in a hearing that was rescheduled, with the mother properly notified, the court gave the paternal grandparents a right to take their visitation at the mother's current address. The mother did not appear in court for this, according to a New York Family Lawyer. The paternal grandparents, were not able to find the mother at the child in the address. January of the following year, the grandparents filed a motion for contempt with the court against the mother. The hearing was scheduled for March of that year.

The maternal grandparents filed a petition with a different county court for the adoption of their grandchild. This was filed four days before the scheduled hearing for contempt in the original court. From what a Nassau County Family Lawyer found out, the maternal grandparents presented a signed consent from the mother. The mother did not appear in the rescheduled hearing for contempt, so a warrant of arrest was issued by the court. The following month, the mother contact the paternal grandparents. They agreed to a visitation schedule so the arrest warrant was withdrawn. The hearing was set for May 26 and the mother said the visitation could start in July.

At the hearing in May 26, reported a Nassau County Child Support Lawyer, all parties attended and the court granted the request of the mother to have the visitation start in July. The court was not aware of the adoption petition in the second court. The following day, the second court heard the petition for adoption, with them unaware as well of the hearing in the original court the day before. It was in June that the paternal grandparents were notified of the adoption. They filed another contempt motion and a petition to restrict the removal of the minor child from their county. The adoption petition was vacated, as well by the court. The motion of the paternal grandparents was granted.

The maternal grandparents and the mother appealed for a review of the decision. The Court of Appeals agreed with them that the child’s movement should not be restricted solely to facilitate visitation, but they said additional facts in the situation must be considered. The court said the mother moving the child and not saying where the child is for three years showed bad faith. This decision was not solely for the visitation but to make sure the process of the court is followed. The lack of bond in the decision was as well reasonable because the mother has shown she can be a flight risk. The adoption of the child being valid at the time of the injunction, the Court of Appeals said no because the judge had vacated it. The decision was affirmed.

The best interest of the child id the first consideration of the courts when determining visitation. The jurisdiction of the courts also follows a rule to prevent a parent from seeking a more favorable decision somewhere else. There are laws, which cover visitation and a good lawyer knows it has to be followed and reviewed.

There is little argument that a divorce proceeding is difficult, and emotionally charged, particularly when there are children involved. During the course of the proceedings, you may find that an order for protection is required, or that a paternity, or guardianship issue arises. To ensure that you and your child's rights are protected, be sure to seek out skilled legal counsel as soon as possible to ensure the best possible result for your case.

Often, the courts rule in favor of the parent when it comes to third-party visits, but it is not always the case. If you are a grandparent who feels that it is for the best interest of your grandchild to have a relationship with you, you have an option. The experience of Stephen Bilkis and Associates’ team will give you the guidance you will need. We have offices located all over New York and Long Island. You will be given legal assistance and a free consultation if you call us now at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW.