Tuesday, April 26, 2016

GRANDPARENT RIGHTS TO VISITATION


Grandparent alienation is real but not every case is black and white. The facts in the following case sadly describes the complete deterioration of a family. In short, mother and father are not living together and both have terrible relationship with grandmother (who has engaged in some questionable conduct) but young child loves grandmother. To get a full picture of the facts, the case also refers to a prior matter involving grandmother and mother.

Matter of Kathleen LL. v Christopher I. 2016 NY Slip Op 00222 Decided on January 14, 2016 Appellate Division, Third Department:

"This toxic relationship between petitioner and respondents cannot be ignored; nevertheless, "an acrimonious relationship is generally not sufficient cause to deny visitation" by itself (Matter of E.S. v P.D., 8 NY3d at 157; see Matter of Stellone v Kelly, 45 AD3d 1202, 1204 [2007]). Petitioner testified that the child lived with and was raised by her until the child was over four years of age, and that the two had developed a "very close bond" as a result.

.....

We are mindful that Family Court is painfully aware of the prior history between the parties and may well have grounds to believe that the best interests of the child lie in suspending visitation with petitioner altogether. That being said, a sound and substantial basis in the record before us, which illustrates a positive relationship between petitioner and the child despite the toxic relationship between petitioner and respondents, does not exist for that finding (see e.g. Matter of Burton v Barrett, 104 AD3d at 1087; Matter of Johnson v Zides, 57 AD3d at 1320). Under the circumstances present here, we deem it prudent to leave the suspension of visitation in effect on a temporary basis and remit so that Family Court may further develop the record, ascertain the wishes of the child, and fashion an appropriate order (see Matter of Tamara FF. v John FF., 75 AD3d 688, 690 [2010])."

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