The Fourth Department, reversing Family Court, determined, pursuant to the criteria recently announced by the Court of Appeals, the grandparents had standing to contest a custody petition by mother. The child, now six years old, had lived with the grandparents since birth and mother, who has a good relationship with the child, had never before sought custody:
Approximately six months after the court issued its order, the Court of Appeals reversed our decision in Suarez and clarified what constitutes extraordinary circumstances when the nonparent seeking custody is a grandparent of the child. In that context, extraordinary circumstances may be demonstrated by an “extended disruption of custody, specifically: (1) a 24-month separation of the parent and child, which is identified as prolonged, (2) the parent’s voluntary relinquishment of care and control of the child during such period, and (3) the residence of the child in the grandparents’ household” (Suarez, 26 NY3d at 448 … ).
Evaluating those three elements in light of the facts of this case, we agree with respondents and the Attorney for the Child that respondents met their burden of establishing extraordinary circumstances, thereby giving them standing to seek custody of the child. It is undisputed that the child has lived in respondents’ home since he was born, when petitioner consented to give respondents primary physical custody of him. Although the child has a good relationship with petitioner and has frequent visitation with her, petitioner has never made, in nearly six years, any serious attempts to regain custody or resume a parental role in the child’s life. Inasmuch as petitioner voluntarily relinquished custody to respondents and has been separated from the child for a prolonged period of well over 24 months, during which time the child has resided in respondents’ home, we conclude that respondents established the requisite extraordinary circumstances … . Matter of Orlowski v Zwack, 2017 NY Slip Op 00880, 4th Dept 2-3-17
FAMILY LAW (UNDER CRITERIA RECENTLY ANNOUNCED BY THE COURT OF APPEALS, GRANDPARENTS HAD STANDING TO CONTEST MOTHER’S PETITION FOR CUSTODY)/CUSTODY (UNDER CRITERIA RECENTLY ANNOUNCED BY THE COURT OF APPEALS, GRANDPARENTS HAD STANDING TO CONTEST MOTHER’S PETITION FOR CUSTODY)/STANDING (FAMILY, GRANDPARENTS, CUSTODY, UNDER CRITERIA RECENTLY ANNOUNCED BY THE COURT OF APPEALS, GRANDPARENTS HAD STANDING TO CONTEST MOTHER’S PETITION FOR CUSTODY)