U.S. Census Report Finds that Over 7 Million Children Live with Grandparents
According to the U.S. Census Bureau report entitled “Living Arrangements of Children: 2009,” approximately 7.8 million children lived with at least one grandparent that year. This is a substantial increase from the 4.7 million that lived with at least one grandparent in 1991. According to a GoErie.com news article, social workers, nonprofit groups and demographers attribute this trend to high pregnancy and divorce rates, young adults struggling with the economy, increased alcohol and drug abuse, and various other factors.
Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest concentrations of grandparents in the U.S. according to the Census, is following this trend. In fact, in 2010, almost 200,000 children were living with a grandparent in Pennsylvania. In the same year, 4,221 children were living with a grandparent and no parent in Erie County with 50 percent of the children being younger than 5-years-old. Although raising children can be a struggle for some grandparents, many choose to pursue such an arrangement in the best interests of the child.
Child custody is a complicated issue and, as such, the laws that govern child custody decisions are equally complex. Pennsylvania law includes provisions that would allow a grandparent to petition for the physical and/or legal custody of their grandchild or grandchildren under certain circumstances, but decisions are based on what is in the best interests of the child or children.
If you are a grandparent in Pennsylvania and you wish to play an active role in your grandchild’s life, either through frequent visitation or custody, you would be well advised to consult with an experienced Pennsylvania grandparents’ rights lawyer. Sheryl R. Rentz is an attorney dedicated to helping grandparents maintain a strong relationship with their grandchildren. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact Sheryl R. Rentz at (610) 645-0100.