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Understanding Pennsylvania Grandparent Visitation Rights

By Sheryl Rentz on August 19, 2009

Very often when a family experiences a divorce, grandparents can undergo similar challenges that parents go through due to close relationships with grandchildren or the desire to establish stronger bonds. Child visitation in Pennsylvania may be granted to a grandparent under the following circumstances:

  • at least one of the child’s parents is deceased
  • the parents’ marriage is dissolved
  • the parents have been separated for six months or more
  • the child has resided with the grandparent(s) for twelve months or more and is consequently removed from the home by his parents.

Under Title 23, Section 5311, the court must find that the visitation of a grandparent is in the best interest of the child and will not interfere with the parent-child relationship. Visitation rights terminate when adoption occurs, unless the child happens to be adopted by either a stepparent or grandparent. As a grandparent, you can request for visitation before a judge in which many determining factors will be considered, including: your closeness to the child, your relationship with the child’s parents/guardians, and your past relationship with the child.

Many legal complications can interfere with a grandparent’s desired visitation rights, or even those of a parent, depending on the matters surrounding a separation or divorce. It is important to remember that the main focus in any visitation or child custody dispute is what is best for the child or children involved in terms of well-being, safety, healthy development, proper care, and, often times neglected, their happiness.

If you want to ensure that you have the legal right to visit with your child or if you are a grandparent wishing to do so, please contact PA grandparents’ rights attorney Sheryl R. Rentz for a free consultation. The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz has years of experience assisting parents and relatives in Pennsylvania family court issues. Call 610-645-0100 today!

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