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Grandparents Rights

2329 Views 24 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Mama2-4
Hi All,
I would like to get some opinions about court ordered grandparent visitation. My husband and I are presently being sued by my parents for visitation with our 3 children. I am posting the letter that I have been sending to our local lawmakers. I would love to generate some discussion on this topic as well as educate families what can happen and how devistating it can be.

Dear Senator

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?

Again, I really want to get the insight of other parents.

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Hi there,
I just wanted to pop in to say that in the great state on NY (gag me) there is a "parental preferance" law that states that Grandparents may not have visitation over the objection of BOTH parents UNLESS they can either prove abuse or have had a VERY close, long term relationship with the child. (Such as the child has spent time living with them, etc.) I would contact an attorney ASAP & inquire about this. (I am from NY & have BTDT, unfortunatly.) Good luck to you - Grandparents rights are bogus 99.9% of the time.
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We have a law guardian and she does not seem to be very much of a warrior up to this point. We are back in court one week from today 4/19 so we will see how she represents our dd's view point at that time. She is going to have a baby July 1 so I am hoping this is all resolved before she delivers.
I am against "Grandparents' Rights".
99.99% of the time it is not in the best interests of the child/children- and, sorry to the .01% group, no law should force a parent to "share" their child that way.
Good luck.
DH and I are totally against GP rights, have been since long before we had children and we both enjoy great relationships with both sets of parents who live 1000 miles away.

We feel that GP got a shot at raising their OWN children. They don't get a second chance at raising or even having a relationship with their grandchildren. If they desire change, then they need to work on their relationship with their own children, not go through legal battles in the courts.

Unfortunately, as the baby boomers age, I think you will see more laws in their favor.

It is a good letter. I think it could even more powerful if you had some very specific idea of how you want the law changed. Are you asking for that vague sentence to be removed? If so, state that directly. You might also find out who sponosored the law to begin with and if it was opposed by anyone. Then write those people and ask specificially and directly for the provisions you want. Laws are here to serve the people and are made by people - so keep up the good fight!
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Chiming in to say that my dh and I abhor this as well. We wrote a will specifically to keep our kids out of grandparent's hands should the worst happen to us. Should we ever divorce, we would want time with the grandparents to be supervised by one of us. Nothing sinister, but both families have some un-healthy ideals we don't want our kids thinking are right.
BTDT in Texas and now living in NY. Oh how I feel for you. A TOTAL nightmare and a complete disruption to life as you know it. Don't ever trust the Law Guardians BTW - most are fairly evil and go with the courts and/or the GP's.

Try LOTS of info there or at least a place to vent.

Good luck!
UnassitedMomma, thank you for the website, adn
to all the mamas who have had to deal with this crap
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I belong to the crpr support group, and do also post on the parents right board. It is a great place to vent and get ideas. I have got the strong attention of my assemblyman. I am going to meet with him on Thursday and go over a few more things re my case and present him with all of the research that I have done on this topic. I feel really positive about his support in this.
Just out of my own curiosity, who are the people that are politically in favor of grandparents' rights? Is it just a small group of grandparents? Who is it exactly? I don't understand how this "right" even exists except in the small amount of legitimate cases like where grandma raised jr from birth and wants some visitation (and even then it isn't black and white). But anyway, who are these pro-GR people?
I do not think this is a matter for the court to decide. They are overstepping what should be their bounds.

Originally Posted by phathui5
I do not think this is a matter for the court to decide. They are overstepping what should be their bounds.
Since when has that stopped them before?

The problem is that CPS sees the issue as "best interest of the child" and not necesarily any potential problems. My sister is currently going through this. If she had not said who the father of my neice was....

And the "best interest of the child" doesn't matter what the parents think or want. Heritage, being with grandparents and more.

And if you're a marginal parent, it doesn't matter what your wishes are. If the grandparents have money and are "stable" and you "aren't," the chance that they will win increases.
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I'm against it for all the reasons stated by previous posters. I also have seen that the GPs who use these laws are far better off financially than the parents who oppose them, and that this often causes the parents to enter into settlement agreements out of duress. This is a disparity that I don't think is fair.

The only situations I think a court should even consider are where a GP has been the primary caregiver at some point. Even if a GP can prove a parent has abused a child, I don't see why we need these separate GP rights laws. I don't see why a case like that can't go through the regular CPS proceedings, and through that lead to the GPs getting custody over foster parents.

Originally Posted by mom2-3
We have a law guardian and she does not seem to be very much of a warrior up to this point. We are back in court one week from today 4/19 so we will see how she represents our dd's view point at that time. She is going to have a baby July 1 so I am hoping this is all resolved before she delivers.
Just so you know, a law guardian's job is not to represent the child's wishes. It's to evaluate the situation and make a determination as to what's in the child's best interests (which may or may not coincide with the child's wishes). If you want your children's stated interests represented in court, you probably need an attorney for them (though I'm not sure if all courts will allow this).
I've posted on another thread about this topic. I also belong to CRPR and we are looking for parent groups and forums to start a grassroots movement to change these laws.

AARP is the power behind the grandparents rights movementeven though, if asked most AARP members report that they do not support this type of law. There are a few vocal proponents that are high up in the AARP organization that keep it in their mandate.

Unfortunately, there are no comparable parents organziations to AARP. We do not have the political muscle to be heard above the din of this very powerful lobby.

Another post talked about the different kinds of grands that use these laws and that is one of the major goals that CRPR has. We need to separate the vindictive poisonous grands for their caregiver counterparts. It's time to define unfit grandparents just as there are unfit parents.

If you are interested in getting involved in this movement (Maryland families especially), please, email me at [email protected]. Read the stories on the Parentsrights board and you will understand how much this type of court-ordered legal abuse can damage families.

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I was going to post that I suspected the AARP was driving this.

They are a formidible lobby.

I'll state again, that I just don't think that people cut off contact with family for fun or just because it's Tuesday. There's gonna be a reason to go to that extreme. Hell, who doesn't want to have the help from GP if they were all that wonderful to the little ones?

Like MIL says, it's just because the parents are "selfish" and "jealous" of the relationship between GP and DC.
Yeah, Riiiiiiiiiiiiigggghhhttt!
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A wise grandparent knows you can not force parents to let grandchild visit. That will cause a rift between parents and grandparents and more. The child will be torn apart in the tug of war between the two generations. Yet, that is what some grandparents want. To be chosen as the better parent. They see their grandchildren as a second chance to be a parent because their ability to have children has long past. And you know what, that's exactly what biobitch said in court. Not that she had failed at raising me. Oh no. That never came up. But that ODD was her second chance and she not only wanted that second chance, she salivated over it.
I am praying for all the families mentioned here that have had this happen to them but I must please ask that we keep this discussion to What we can do about this I am learning a great deal from this threadIf anyone would like to continue discussing thier experiences with "grandparents right", we can do that in Parenting
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I have deleted the posts that are just discussion on the topic and not about What we can to.
Please Let us keep on track and try to change this
I'm sorry. I am having trouble with the email account I set up to take answers to the above post.

Please email me a [email protected] if you are interested in joining a group of parents and grandparents who are fighting these laws. Also, please go to if you want to get a better idea of the cases that are out there and the families you will be helping.

We need vocal support from parents everywhere - not just those of us who are victims. Even if you have the greatest sets of grandparents in the world, there is still a reason for you to help - the kids. This is just another form of abuse that these "grandparents" are perpetrating via the legal system. In fact, if you do have great grands, let them know about these people and ask them whether they feel comfortable sharing a name and title with someone who abuses it to this extent. (I know I'm not comfortable with drug-addict deadbeat people calling themselves parents.)

And yet another request, if you know of other forums that will listen to this message, please pass it on or email or post the link. The more fit parents and grandparents out there that we get the message to the better. We need to take back the rights that we need to discharge the responsibilites we have taken on.

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