The image of all American children being raised by both of their parents under one roof is far from reality these days, if it were ever the way things really worked. Not only are many parents in Buffalo raising their kids with little to no support from the children’s other parent, some kids spend most of their time with relatives other than their parents.

In recent years, grandparents have taken an increasingly active role in raising their grandchildren. There are several possible reasons for this. People are living longer, and those in their 50s and 60s are likely healthier and more active than their own grandparents were at that age. Also, parents sometimes are unable to care for their kids, and having grandparents take over custody is a way for the children to stay in the family.

Occasionally, parents and grandparents conflict about how to raise the kids, or they simply do not get along. After divorce, parents sometimes cut off access to the grandchildren, depriving them and the grandparents of their relationship.

The law generally gives deference to parents’ child-rearing decisions, including whether to have the grandparents in the children’s lives. However, New York grandparents have legal options, such as the right to ask the court for visitation rights.

If the grandparents have an established and meaningful relationship with the grandchild, and continuing that relationship is in the grandchild’s best interests, the court may grant visitation time over the custodial parent’s objections.

Grandparents with questions about the legal status of their relationship with their grandchildren should speak with a family law attorney.