Mothering Forum banner

Court ordered grandparent visitation in NY

566 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  SunShineSally
Hey all New Yorkers, I just want to share with you all what is happening to me and my family in our otherwise great state.

I am looking for feedback, insight and supporters. My husband and I are currently in a court battle in NY with my parents suing us for visitation with our 3 biological children. Our life is very surreal at times as a result of this. Please read the letter that I have written to my local assemblyman. I have gained his support and he has expressed his extreme concern with this law and is willing to help me in any way he can. There are laws in all 50 states which allow grandparents, other relatives and even just friends and neighbors seek visitation with your children. I feel this is such an intrusion into my life and my right to raise my children as I see fit without state interference. I would appreciate any feedback, questions or suggestions.

Dear Assemblyman,

I am writing to you to express my concern regarding New York Domestic Relations Law 72. At the present time my family and I are being faced with a lawsuit brought on by my parents, the petitioners, for Grandparent Visitation. There is a long story here, I will not share it all with you, but just give you an overview.

After a lifetime of control, physical, and emotional abuse toward me and 10 years of the petitioners belittling my husband, home, and lifestyle we decided we have had enough. We severed all contact with them. We have decided that our lives are better in so many ways without them involved.

My husband and I have been married for 10 years and have 3 children. Grace is 10 years old and is in 4th grade. Eddie is 3 and little Trevor is 5 months.

We have not seen or spoken with the petitioners in almost 2 years. Grace has a past relationship with them, but has expressed to us and her court appointed law guardian that she does not want to see them ever again. Eddie does not know who they are, and they found out about their newest grandson, Trevor, through our court affidavits.

My parents have decided that litigation was the best answer and have served us with a petition for visitation. We are firmly against any visitation with our children and the petitioners. We feel as parents it is our duty to our children as well as our constitutional right to decide who our children associate with. Because of the lack of protection under DRL 72 we, an intact, loving family are being hauled into court by controlling Grandparents who are not even residents of NY state. This has already cost us $20K+ on lawyers and we are in the process of cashing out all the equity in our home to pay for additional court appearances, the trial and possibly an appeal.

The emotional trauma this has created in our lives is unbearable. Our daughter Grace, an otherwise well adjusted normal 4th grader is now attending regular therapy sessions. I am in therapy, and at times I find my life so surreal and insufferable.

My husband and I are hard working people. We supported one another through school. He is now a successful airplane captain and I am a registered nurse working for St. Francis Hospital as a community health nurse. We are respected in our community, are active in our children's lives and are good, concerned, loving parents.

I find it so hard to believe that the state can intrude into our personal lives, and place such a heavy burden on us. Our constitutionally protected rights to the care, custody and control of our children are being compromised and hashed around in court when we have done nothing wrong.

Domestic Relations Law 72 is very vague in many ways. An example is the determination of "standing" and "where equity sees fit to intervene", are very indistinct. New York is the only state in the United States with this sentence in its Grandparent Visitation Statute, and what it does is allow any Judge to decide what they might deem "equitable circumstances in which to intervene". Much of the time, it's because they personally "feel" grandparents should have visitation. The judge on our case has openly expressed on the record that he is a firm believer in grandparent's rights. I am concerned that the judge's open admissions of his personal beliefs will be cast upon our case.

As our representative, we are asking for your assistance and support in any way with this matter. Can you help us to change this law so that other fit parents are not subjected to the heavy burden of unnecessary litigation?

Very Sincerely,
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. If you would like to support me in writing to our assemblymen please let me know. I am really trying to educate people of the damage this law can do. My assemblyman has done research about the intentions behind this law when it was enacted and he states this was NOT what it was meant for. Given this, I think the law needs to be amended immediately.

There is another family in upstate NY that is also currently battling a grandparent visitation suit. She has also gained interest from her assemblyman. We are hoping to bring the two together and get them to sponsor a bill to change this law.

See less See more
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Really don't have anything of worth to say. But couldn't read without responding. It just sounds so horrendously sad.

See less See more
you know...sometimes NY just bites.
In the past the government was very proactive in protecting the rights of its citizens--the little, me, joe down-the-street...

And I'm sure this law was intended for such purposes

but as NY drifts further and further away from protecting the average Joe, things like this happen...
complete and utter crud (nicest word I could come up with)

must flipping out (again)

Have you contacted the local news about it? If you were to set the terms--that they talk to you and not the kids, it might not be a huge intrustion on your lives and would bring more attention to the issue.
See less See more

Sending prayers your way.

Will a call from CA count???
See less See more
I second the media involvement... it is usually the best way to get many people's support.

I know that this is something that my ILs would do in a heart beat.
See less See more
The media is a great idea, but our attorney would like us to hold off until the hearing. If the judge does not rule in our favor and we have to appeal, we will go to the media. Our assemblyman also stated that he would go to the media as he is sickened by this and by other decisions this judge has made, and he would like to inform the public about this judges attitude and poor decision making.
I think you are making a valient effort to change something for the better where it concerns your children. It just does not seem logical to me that the state should be involved in situations like this. As parents, it is your responsibility to protect your children, why should the state interfere in you doing that?

As a fellow NY'er I will gladly write letters regarding this issue.
I know this was an older post but...

MY Ds and I went thru this with his peternal grandparents it caused him to go to a child psycologist me to continue to now work as he would cry hysterically for hours if I would leave him even to use the bathroom or shower. we live with my mother still and he would not even go upstairs with her. He was oly one year old when the visits started and he never even saw X's parents (it was their choice they were the ones who decided not to come and see their grandson. then turned around and said I refused to let them see him
) I have the ped and psycologist waiting to see if they decide to take me back to court (they were going to serve me about 2 months or so ago we were doing visits at the psycologists office for awhile (they were granted supervised visits) they decided that once every two weeks was not "good enough" His grandparents are also shall I saw not nice people (and I am being nice to only say that they sound a lot like your parents) I do not know how a "judge" has any leagal right to tell me my son has to see these people or anyone for that matter. Like your judge said he beleives in "grandparent rights" So sorry to hijack your post I would love to help you in getting this law changed. It has been over a year and the longest i can leave my son is about 20 minutes I have no child support to live on I have to continue to recieve welfare and foodstamps becaue one child care provider or person will watch my son beacuse he has panic attacks it is truely heart breaking (tho I do love to beable to watch him grow and blossom in to a little man I just wish it was not because of this and that he was not develomentally behind because of this) sorry I rambled again!

If you could help me I would write a letter to the assemblyman or whatever else I can do! this "law" has effected me and my whole family!

Karen and Baby Joe

OT Vamp127
it is nice to see another WNYer here don't you wish that there were more crunchy people around these parts?!
See less See more
1 - 8 of 8 Posts