The initial step in a custody case is to establish whether a grandparent has the right to bring forth a legal action for child custody. Since law revisions in 2011, grandparents who stand in for a parent can attempt to acquire legal and primary physical custody if specific details are satisfied in the following situations:
- The child’s relationship with the grandparent started with the consent of a parent.
- You, as the grandparent, are fully willing to assume all responsibility for the child.
- One of the following applies: (a) the child is considered a dependent under the Juvenile Act or (b) the child is significantly at risk due to neglect, parental abuse, substance abuse, or incapacitation, or (c) the child must have lived with the grandparent for at least 1 year. If this is the case, then the grandparent must make the request within 6 months of the child’s removal from the parents.
To move forward and have a chance at getting child custody, the decision must be in the best interest of the child. If you are seeking child custody or even partial custody, an experienced attorney can help you navigate this process.
Grandparent Visitation Rights
In Pennsylvania, a grandparent can request visitation rights (also called partial custody) if the child’s family unit is broken. A grandparent can file an action for partial custody when:
- The child’s parent(s) is/are dead
- The child’s parents have been separated for at least 6 months or have filed for divorce or separation, or
- The child has resided with the grandparent for at least 12 months
As with custody rights, the grandparent(s) must also show that partial custody serves the grandchild’s best interests.
Consult with an Experienced Lawyer at Our Firm
Grandparents can provide additional support and stability to the family unit. If you are a grandparent trying to seek custody of your grandchild, it would benefit you to consult with an experienced attorney to determine your rights. Our Pittsburgh grandparent’s custody rights attorneys can provide you with the knowledge and resources to help you figure out what decisions are best for your grandchild.
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