Articles Posted in Grandparent’s Rights

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This is an appeal brought before the Supreme Court on the issue of whether Domestic Relations Law § 72, New York’s grandparental visitation statute, is unconstitutional on its face in light of the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Troxel v Granville (530 US 57). The court granted the motion and “deemed” the statute to be unconstitutional. The court ruled that the statute is not facially invalid.

The petitioner, a grandparent, commenced this proceeding pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 72 to obtain visitation with his 15 minor grandchildren.

The respondents are the grandchildren’s parents (the parents).

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This is an appeal by the father of an 11-year old boy (1) from an order of the Family Court, Nassau County, entered July 31, 1973, which, without a hearing, awarded custody of the boy jointly to the 74-year old maternal grandmother and his 21-year old sister and the latter’s 20-year old husband, with visitation granted to the father, and (2) from so much of an order of the Supreme Court, Nassau County, entered October 17, 1973, as referred and remanded the question of custody to the Family Court, Nassau County, for a full hearing and determination.

At issue in these appeals is the custody of an 11-year old boy. The boy was three months old when his parents separated in November, 1962. Custody was with his mother until she died on February 9, 1973. The boy then remained with his sister. Within a month after the death of the boy’s mother, his father sought custody in the Family Court, Nassau County, as did the sister and her husband and the maternal grandmother. On the basis of a conversation with the boy, a report of the Family Court Mental Health Clinic and a report of the Nassau County Probation Department, but without a hearing, the Family Court awarded custody to respondents.

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The subject children lived with the petitioner, their maternal grandmother, intermittently for the first 2 1/4 years and 1 1/4 years of their lives, respectively. After the Administration for Children’s Services filed a petition in a separate matter alleging neglect against the children’s mother, the children were placed with the petitioner on March 1, 2002. However, on March 6 or 8, 2002, the children, who were then 2 1/4 years old and 1 1/4 years old, respectively, were removed from the petitioner’s custody due to the condition of the petitioner’s home. On December 2, 2002, the children were placed with their paternal grandmother, the respondent who was subsequently designated the children’s foster parent and adoptive resource, and they have resided with her since that time.

The petitioner testified that, after the children were removed from her home, she usually visited them approximately once or twice per week until the mother’s parental rights were terminated pursuant to an order of the Family Court. While a finding of fact made by the Family Court during the proceeding to terminate the mother’s parental rights suggests that the petitioner only accompanied the mother to nine of the mother’s scheduled agency visitations with the children, the record reveals that the petitioner had several other visits with the children. The petitioner further testified that she contacted the respondent directly several times to request visitation, but the respondent refused her request.

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The daughter of Elizabeth Edwards gave her mother the greatest piece of news she’d ever receive: she was getting married. Just days before Beth passed away after a long struggle with cancer, her daughter Cate let her know she was engaged to her longtime love, a doctor, said a New York City Family Lawyer. For Edwards, who has seen her life take on a roller coaster ride that few would ever endure for as long as she did, it was the news that helped her leave this world with a smile on her face. Reaction in Nassau and Suffolk Counties was very positive.

Cate is an anti-discrimination attorney in Washington D.C. and friends have said that she and her mother are remarkably similar. The two were as close as any mother and daughter could be, often chit chatting on the phone for hours on end about every little thing one could think of. Friends said that they even held their phones the same way!

For Beth, it was needed joy. After learning that her ex-husband, the famed John Edwards who famously ran as Vice President with John Kerry in a losing effort in 2004, had cheated on her in a high profile and public fashion, she was diagnosed with cancer, notes a New York City Family Lawyer. She had fought cancer once before, beating it back, but this latest return was considered much grimmer. Thankfully, before she died, she got to smile one last time knowing she would be a grandparent.

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The Supreme Court in South Dakota has ruled in favor of grandparents being granted parental custody of their grandchildren, said a NY Family Lawyer. This ruling is being seen as a victory for children whose parents are seen as unfit because it gives the children a chance to have a stable family life with grandparents or other people who love them instead of being thrust into foster care with strangers. 

The Family Lawyer in NYC mentioned that in such circumstances, a judge will rule in favor of the grandparents or others who know the child if it has been deemed that the biological parents are not capable of providing basic needs, like food, shelter and clothing. This comes as great news to grandparents and other relatives who do not want to see the children taken out of the context of their family because of the ineptitude of the parents. 

According to the Lawyer, it makes sense to allow the children to be raised by family members who are not their parents because it gives them stability in knowing that they are valued members of their family and that even though their biological parents may have been facing unforeseen circumstances that has labeled them unfit, they can continue to be appreciated and nurtured within the larger family unit that they have come to know. 

Reports received by the courts in New York City and Long Island suggest that drug and alcohol abuse can contribute to a biological parent losing custody of their children, as con domestic violence. Extenuating circumstances such as homelessness can also be cases in which another family member might win custody of the child if it is seen as being a solution that offers the child a better quality of life and stability. 

Determining custody and parental rights can be stressful and emotionally devastating, especially when one does not know all of the options available in such a situation.

A New York Family Attorney can help ease the struggle and pain in situations where the needs of the child must be taken into consideration. A reputable New York Family Attorney will represent you fairly, honestly and accurately. The firm of Stephen Bilkis & Associates with convenient locations thorughout the Metropolitan Area, including servicing Tribeca, NY City, can be of invaluable assistance to you if you find yourself a party to a case. Facing the Court without professional representation could lead to disastrous results.

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