Delaware County Grandparents’ Rights Attorney
Representing Delaware County Grandparents
Many grandparents today play a major role in the lives of their grandchildren. They may serve as primary caregivers when both parents are working. They may take the grandchildren into their homes during summer vacation and over the holidays, after school, or on the weekends, or step in to provide care when a child is ill and cannot attend school.
Grandparents feel a deep love for their grandchildren, particularly when they have regular and frequent contact. They deserve visitation rights, regardless of custody arrangements if the parents divorce.
What Rights Do Grandparents Have in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania acknowledges the positive influence grandparents can have on the lives of their grandchildren and recognizes that grandparents have certain rights to visitation. In a divorce or child custody case, the emphasis is on the rights of the parents and the best interests of the child. Although grandparents’ rights are not usually addressed in these proceedings, they are stated under Title 23, Part V, Chapter 53, Subchapter A.
Grandparents may petition the court under any of the following circumstances:
- The child’s parents have started divorce or annulment proceedings or have been separated for six months or more.
- The child lived with the grandparent for 12 months or more before being removed from the home by the child’s parents, regardless of whether the parents are together, divorcing, or divorced.
- The child’s parent, who is the grandparent’s child, is deceased, regardless of whether he or she was married to the other parent at the time of death.
An exception to the above is adoption. If someone other than a grandparent or stepparent adopts a grandchild, any other custodial or visitation arrangements made before the adoption are automatically terminated.
Grandparents do have rights, but family law courts will not automatically grant them. In considering child visitation rights for grandparents, judges consider:
- Best interests of the child
- History of the grandchild/grandparent relationship
- How close the child is to the grandparent
- Whether conflicts exist between the grandparent and the child’s parents
- Whether granting grandparent visitation will disrupt the child’s life or relationship with his or her parents
Do Grandparents Have Rights Other than Visitation?
In some cases, grandparents are in a position to pursue custody of a grandchild. They may have been acting as de facto parents, serving as primary caregivers. Grandparents often step in and take over for parents who are not capable of caring for a child for various reasons. They provide for the educational, physical, emotional, and financial well-being of the child. Grandparents may petition for full or partial custody of a grandchild if:
- Both of the child’s parents are deceased.
- One parent is deceased, and the other parent has been denied or has relinquished parenting rights.
- The child was in the physical custody of the grandparent for 12 months or longer.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Divorce, separation, and other factors can disrupt the normal life and relationships of a child. If you want to continue playing an active role in your grandchild’s life, it is important to speak with a Delaware County family law attorney who can guide you through the process of seeking visitation with or custody of your grandchild.
At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., we have the knowledge, skills, and experience to explain your rights under the law, prepare and file the petition and other legal documents, and serve as a dedicated advocate in dealing with the child’s parents, their attorneys, and the family law judge.
We offer a free consultation with no obligation. Call us today at (610) 645-0100 to find out how we can help protect your grandparents’ rights in Delaware County.