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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33716
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience
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Do grandparents or in-laws have any right to the children?

Customer Question

Do grandparents or in-laws have any right to the children? Brother in law of deceased sister is alienating the children from their grandparents and sister in law. he lives in ny and inlaws live in ca.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
we have tried several times to ask him to try at least a once per week chat, but he always has an excuse or will not return our calls or texts.
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Are you saying that the mother has passed the the father is refusing to let the grandparent and aunt see any children?

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Have the children lived with the grandparents or aunt for any amount of time?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hello, thank you. Yes, my sister passed away 4 months ago in NY where they live and bro in law says that he doesn't want the 9yo & 4yo to have contact w/grandmother for fear that she will be too emotional and ruin any progress the kids have made w/their grievance counselor. It's been a month since any contact with them via Skype or phone and he has only sent 1 picture. His ultimatum is that grandmother goes to therapy before he'll let her speak w/grandkids. We live in CA and the kids have never lived w/us. I, deceased sister, am a Godmother to one of the kids. We are wanting to know what rights we have to communication w/the kids, if any.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
We also have no emergency contact info for the kids. There are 1 or 2 nannies but he will not give us their contact info.
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Ok, thank you for that information. Very simply, grandparents can petition for visitation in limited circumstances, but other relatives like aunts or uncles have no such rights.

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Under NY law, grandparents can file for visitation if one parent is deceased. The only other condition that is mentioned in the statute is "where circumstances show that conditions exist which equity would see fit to intervene."

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So basically if it would be unfair to the grandparents and the grandchildren not to see each other where one parent was deceased, the court can grant visitation as long as the judge thinks it is in the "best interests of the child", which is the standard that they use..

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If grandparents wanted to pursue this, then they would have to file a formal visitation action in family court in NY to request a visitation order from the judge setting up a schedule.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Well, grandmother isn't healthy enough for travel at this time, and likely won't be. She's not in great health to begin with. So does this mean that due to the distance there is no chance that we can at least get calls or pictures, or letters? And even though i am Godmother to the 9yo, i have not rights except in the church?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

So does this mean that due to the distance there is no chance that we can at least get calls or pictures, or letters? And even though i am Godmother to the 9yo, i have not rights except in the church?

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Unfortunately, the answer is yes to both questions. The only state with jurisdiction is NY, so any action would have to be filed there. And a Godparent doesn't have any legal standing at all as this is a symbolic position..

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
no problem, i understand. is there no one that can petition for her in NY?...as a representative?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

She could hire an attorney, but she would eventually have to actually appear in court for any hearings on the matter in front of the judge..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ugh, ok. thank you!
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

You are very welcome. Glad to help even if the news was kind of lousy..

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thanks

Barrister

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