Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights in Pennsylvania?
Grandparents often fall victim to circumstances within their children’s families that disrupt their relationship with their grandchildren, so they turn to the courts for a legal remedy. Grandparents do not enjoy the same presumptive rights to custody or visitation that parents do, but depending on the facts of the case, they may have statutory rights. And those rights allow them to maintain frequent and loving contact with their grandchildren, even over a parent’s objection.
There are two sections of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes that grant custody and visitation rights to grandparents under certain conditions: § 5324.(3) covers cases where the parents have neglected the child. It allows grandparents to assume custody if one of these conditions exists:
- The child is without proper parental care or control.
- The child is at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, or incapacity.
- The child has resided with the grandparent for a period of at least 12 consecutive months but was removed from the home by the parents.
In cases where the parents are performing their duties capably, § 5325 allows grandparents and great-grandparents to file for partial physical custody or supervised physical custody if one of these conditions exists:
- A parent of the child is deceased, and a parent or grandparent of the deceased parent wants time with the child.
- The parents of the child have been separated for at least six months or have started proceedings to dissolve their marriage.
- The parents have removed from the grandparent’s home a child who had resided with the grandparent for at least 12 months, and less than six months has elapsed.
If you’d like to know how the law on grandparents’ rights applies to your situation, our law firm can help. We serve clients throughout Bucks County, including Newtown, Washington Crossing, and Richboro. Call The Law Offices of Jennifer Courtney & Associates, P.C. at 215.493.3360 or contact our Yardley office online to schedule a consultation.