Grandmother Granted Custody

grandparents' rights attorney in New YorkThis case involves an appeal by a father seeking to set an Order aside which granted the maternal grandmother custody of the father’s child. The father’s appeal was denied. The grandmother was granted primary residential custody of the child.

History of the Case

The father and mother were not married. They resided together until the baby was six months old. At that time, the father was incarcerated. The mother resided with her mother, her child’s grandmother. There came a time when the mother was also incarcerated. During the time both parents were in jail, the grandmother dutifully raised the child.

Father Obtains Visitation When Released From Prison

When the father was released from prison he obtained visitation rights with his child. The father thereafter brought a proceeding seeking physical custody of the child. He claimed both he and the child’s mother had maintained a continuing relationship with the child.

Justice Elizabeth Garry wrote the decision for the Appellate Division for the Third Department (an appeals court). She found there were extraordinary circumstances involved in this case. The award of primary physical custody by the Family Court to the grandmother with joint custody to the child’s parents was affirmed. She stated in her decision that considering all of the testimony, the history of the circumstances of the parents and the child’s developmental needs, the grandparent was “uniquely qualified to oversee the child’s therapeutic regime…and the father does not understand or refuses to accept the severity of the child’s developmental delay.” It was therefore in the best interest of the child the grandmother be awarded primary physical custody of the child.


This decision is supported by the theory that the best interests of the child should be taken into consideration when the court grants custody. In this case the grandparent was the most suitable and appropriate residential parent. Grandparents play an exceedingly important role in the development of their grandchildren.  In addition to this case being a victory for children’s rights, it is also a victory for grandparent’s rights. New York grandparents' rights lawyer

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 45 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.