Standing Up For An Important Relationship
randparents have a unique and special bond with their grandchildren and it is in children’s best interests to maintain that meaningful bond even if their family dynamic changes due to the death, divorce or separation of their parents. In some cases, Grandparents are concerned about the level of care their grandchildren are receiving and they feel they should step in and care for the children themselves.
The law in Pennsylvania recognizes the important role many grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. In some situations, Grandparents (or Great-grandparents) can sue for full custody of their grandchildren. In the event they have been acting as the children’s parents (basically stepping in and caring for the children in place of the children’s parents), they may file for any form of physical or legal custody. This means Grandparents could win primary custody of their grandchildren and gain shared or full legal custody and the ability to share in decisions being made about their grandchildren’s lives.
If Grandparents haven’t been acting as parents for their grandchildren but they are willing to assume responsibility for the children, they may sue for full custody if certain conditions are met and their relationship with the children began either with the consent of one of the children’s parents or under a court order. In addition, grandparents and great-grandparents may file an action for partial physical custody or supervised physical custody.
As you can see, there are many relationships that Grandparents have with their grandchildren that the law recognizes and protects. If you feel you must step in and take responsibility for your grandchildren because the children’s parents are not providing a stable and nurturing environment, you have the right to file a petition asking the judge to determine whether the children should be with you, permanently or temporarily.
If the children are not at risk with their parents, but your previously close relationship with your grandchild has been suddenly taken away by the child’s parent, you are entitled to file a petition asking the court to allow your relationship with the child to continue, even against the parent’s wishes.
The law is very specific on the criteria you must meet to file a petition and even if you meet that hurdle, the court will examine the amount of personal contact between you and the child prior to the filing of your action for custody. The court will also examine whether awarding you custody would “interfere with any parent-child relationship” and whether awarding you some form of custody is in the child’s best interests.
Although the hurdle seems high, the right attorney can gather all of the relevant facts and present them to the judge in a compelling and concise manner. Here at Masorti Law Group, we have found great success in the majority of Grandparent’s Rights cases we have handled over the years and we would welcome the opportunity to assist you with yours. Contact Us Now if you would like help enforcing your rights as Grandparents!