If you feel that your rights as a grandparent are being denied during your child's divorce or in a child custody dispute, you should discuss your situation with one of our family law attorneys. The custody laws in Pennsylvania are often confusing, especially when pertaining to grandparents' rights.
Grandparents may be eligible for full physical custody, partial physical custody or visitation in certain circumstances by first establishing standing. In some instances, as the grandparent, you can file for visitation or custody if the child's parents have died, are divorcing, or if they are separated for six months or longer.
Protecting the Rights of Grandparents
Considerations Regarding Grandparents' Rights
Under Pennsylvania law, preference is given to the biological parents in most cases as long as doing so is in the child's best interest. As a grandparent, however, you do have rights that you can exercise and protect.
Grandparents who file for custody rights will need to prove that taking over custody of the children is in the best interests of the kids involved. Just some of the factors that might be considered by the court when determining a grandparent's right in a child custody case include:
Relationship with grandchild began with consent of parent (for those not acting "in loco parentis")
Grandparent has genuine care / concern for child (for those not acting "in loco parentis")
Additionally, one of the following factors will need to be proven:
Grandchildren resided with grandparents for at least 12 months
Grandchildren have been declared dependent
Grandchildren are at risk because of parents' behavior
When pursuing partial custody or supervised physical custody, which is sometimes called visitation, the grandparents are granted specific opportunities under the Pennsylvania Child Custody Statutes. When you meet with a family law attorney at our office, we can describe to you the circumstances that can result in partial custody or supervised physical custody.
With over 20 years of experience, we can help you pursue the best possible result to your custody case. If you are facing a complex situation, we can help you assert your rights. Contact us at either our Delaware County office or our Chester County Office for a private consulation..