Grandparents’ Rights

In New York State, certain circumstances exist before the courts may grant custody or visitation rights to grandparents. Where one or both parents of the child are deceased, or where circumstances show that there is a need for the courts to intervene, grandparents may apply to the New York State Supreme Court or the New York State Family Court for visitation rights, alleging that the best interests of the child shall be served by granting visitation to the grandparents. In certain extraordinary circumstances, a court may decide that granting custody to grandparents serves the best interests of the child. An example of such extraordinary circumstances is an ‘extended disruption of custody’ from the legal caretaker or parent, where the child lived with the grandparents for at 24 continuous months. Other circumstances have also been found to be extraordinary. They included persistent parental neglect, parental alcohol and/or drug abuse, and a history of parental domestic violence. Litigation is not the only way to provide custody or visitation rights to grandparents. They can also be granted by agreements between the grandparents and the child’s parents. Extraordinary circumstances are not required. An experienced custody attorney will help you apply the specific facts and circumstances of your case to the law.

Locations We Serve

Our Divorce and Family lawyers work throughout the capital region and upstate New York to help individuals and families navigate complex legal cases. With offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs, our location allows our attorneys easy access to all areas of the state.

Our Divorce and Family practice serves several counties throughout upstate New York including Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Warren, Washington, Ulster, Fulton, Montgomery, Otsego, Schoharie, Clinton, Essex, Madison, and Delaware counties. Our Divorce and Family attorneys can help you navigate these often stressful and emotional issues.

To learn more about our legal services in your area, visit our location page.


I was going through a divorce Kelly, Jess and everyone at this firm was more then helpful. All were compassionate, caring and always there to answer questions. I will never be able to thank this firm enough. I highly recommended them

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Florence Richardson is compassionate, supremely intelligent and a beautifully composed lawyer. She took care of my case in a professional and extremely favorable manner. I’m forever grateful for her expertise and kindness.

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My family was fortunate to be referred to O’Connell & Aronowitz for legal matters. They were helpful, friendly, and professional. They are a cut above the rest and a pleasure to deal with in every sense.

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