Grandparents often have questions for our Child Custody Attorneys with regard to their rights in a child custody matter and when they have the ability to file a request for custody rights to their grandchildren in Pennsylvania. Our blog today discusses the basics of grandparent custody under the PA statutes.
The first step for grandparents seeking to file for custody rights of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania is for the court to make a determination if the grandparent(s) have standing in the custody matter. This means that the court must make an initial determination as to whether a grandparent seeking custody has the ability to even present their case to the court.
A grandparent can seek any form of custody for their grandchildren if the grandparent can show that their relationship with the child began with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order. That grandparent also must show that they assumed or are willing to assume responsibility for the child. Lastly, one of the following three scenarios must be present: 1) the child is deemed dependent by the court; 2) the child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity; or 3) the child has resided with the grandparent for a period of as least twelve consecutive months.
A grandparent can also seek partial custody or supervised custody of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania. While this doesn’t always entail significant custody time, a grandparent who is granted partial physical or supervised custody is able to exercise custody time on specific times/days of the week with their grandchildren per a court order. When a parent of the child is deceased, a parent or grandparent of that deceased parent may file an action for partial or supervised custody. Also, in the case where the natural parents of the child are separated for at least six months, or have commenced and continued a divorce proceeding, a grandparent may seek partial or supervised custody of their grandchildren.
Our attorneys handle all forms of child custody matters, including grandparent custody in Pennsylvania. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your grandparent custody matter.