Grandparents' & Third-Party Rights in Pennsylvania
Are You Seeking Visitation Rights to Your Grandchildren?
As a grandparent, death and divorce can directly affect the relationship you have with your grandchildren. Fortunately, Pennsylvania allows certain grandparents to seek custody of their grandchildren. If you need legal assistance with this matter, it is important to work with a Pittsburgh family lawyer who is knowledgeable in state law regarding grandparents' rights.
At Rosen Family Law Group, we have over 25 years of combined legal experience representing individuals just like you. Our firm is committed to pursuing a favorable resolution to your case and supplying the legal guidance you need along the way. Throughout the entirety of your case, you can expect the responsiveness and personal contact only offered by a small law firm such as our own.
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PA Grandparent Rights
Similar to other matters of custody and visitation, the court is careful to uphold the best interests of the child when a grandparent is requesting visitation.
A grandparent may seek any form of custody of their grandchildren only when the grandparent who in loco parentis to the child(ren). In loco parentis means that the grandparent has acted like a parent towards the child.A grandparent may seek limited custody of their grandchildren under the following circumstances:
- If the parents have filed for divorce or been legally separated for six months
- Where the parent of the child(ren) is deceased
- Where the child(ren) has resided with the grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months and is removed from the home by the parents
The court will consider how much interaction and bonding has occurred between the grandparents and their grandchildren in making their decision. Like all of custody, the best interests of the child(ren) are the ultimate goal.
Aside from grandparents, it is possible for third parties to seek custody of a child. For example, a person standing in loco parentis- meaning in place of the parent – to the child can seek child custody, if the individual has assumed parental status of a child, then he or she can seek any form of custody of the child, whether the biological parents have failed in their parental duties or not.
Furthermore, Act 21 - which was passed in Pennsylvania in 2018 – expanded the categories of people who can request child custody through the courts. According to the recent law, any person (who is not a family member) may seek custody, as long as he/she (1) has assumed or is willing to assume responsibility for the child, (b) has the best interests of the child, and (3) neither parent is caring for the child.
Common types of third parties include:
- Blood relatives such as aunts, uncles, or cousins
Put a Dedicated Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer on Your Side
With such an important decision at stake, it is important to have a Pittsburgh family law attorney in your corner who is experienced in parental rights cases and can protect your rights. We have seen it all and our reputation with the court benefits all of our clients.
What are you waiting for? Contact our Pittsburgh divorce attorney today! Your relationship with your grandkids matters to us.
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