Pennsylvania has established the Grandparent Visitation Act to provide partial custody rights for grandparents. Under this law, grandparents can file for legal visitation with grandchildren under certain circumstances.
Learn what the state says about grandparent rights if you have concerns about maintaining this relationship with your loved ones.
When can grandparents seek visitation?
Pennsylvania family courts will hear a request for grandparent custody or visitation if the child’s parents divorce or separate or when one parent has died. You can also file this request if your grandchild has lived in your home for at least a year. You must show that visitation would not disrupt the child’s relationship with parents and would support your grandchild’s well-being.
How does the court determine the child’s best interest?
Pennsylvania judges review a range of factors when making a custody and visitation decision. These so-called best interest factors include whether either parent has a history of neglect or abuse, the child’s relationships with siblings and extended family, the stability of the existing home environment, and the physical and emotional health of the children and parents.
An experienced family law attorney can provide advice about whether you have a case for grandparent visitation in Pennsylvania. You must also gather evidence to support your case, including details about your existing relationship with your grandchild and if applicable, concerns about the child’s safety in the current living environment.
Consider whether you have friends and family members willing to serve as witnesses to your case. You should also consider your grandchild’s wishes if he or she is old enough to express preferences or concerns.