There are a variety of reasons why grandparents might seek custody of their grandchildren. The parents of the children may be ill or drug addicts. The parents may be good parents who have become incapacitated. Sometimes the parents of children are simply incapable of meeting the demands and requirements of raising young children. The parents may be neglectful, abusive, too drunk or too addicted to drugs to appropriately care for their children.
Grandparents can bring custody cases in the Family Court located in the County where the grandchildren reside. The application from the grandparents must show the custodial parents are unfit or incapable meeting the children’s needs. The grandparents in addition must show it is in the children’s best interests for the grandparents to be given temporary custody of their grandchildren. The court will specifically look at evidence of child abuse, neglect or addiction during the course of the proceedings brought by the grandparents.
The initial proceeding is always for temporary custody. The reason why the custody is temporary is the parents’ situation may be subject to change. If they are ill and through treatment they recuperate, they may thereafter become capable of taking care of their children. If they have a drug or alcohol addiction they may go through therapy and down the road recover to the point where they are no longer addicted and they are able to take care of their children.
After the grandparents obtain temporary custody the courts will do a follow-up to see how the children are doing in the grandparents’ custody. Unless the parents give up their rights permanently or a court order is entered permanently removing the parental rights of the parents, the parents can come back to court and make a presentation that they have been rehabilitated and seek to have custody of their children returned to them.
Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates represent grandparents in grandparents’ custody cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area.