Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights?
March 12, 2020
Hi everybody, welcome to Legal Tip Tuesday. I’m Jessica Rafferty, I focus my practice the areas of Family Law, Estate Planning and Civil Litigation. Today I wanted to talk to you abut a question that I often get in the area of Family Law. And that’s regarding grandparent rights. So, the question is “do grandparents have a legal right to custody in Pennsylvania? And the short answer to that is, yes. There is actually a particular statute that deals with this issue. And the statute is giving grandparents the ability to apply for partial physical custody. And partial physical custody is something less than 50%, so a lot of you will refer to that as visitation. So, this statute is designed to allow grandparents to see their children and spend time with them. And there are three circumstances under which the court will hear these cases.
The first is if the parent of the grandchild passes away. So, for example, if mom dies, maternal grandma would be able to file for custody of her grandchild. The second circumstance is if the grandparents have had a relationship with grandkids, so mom and dad were allowing the grand parents to spend time with their kids, and now mom and dad have filed for custody through the court – that’s the first one. And two, the parents are disagreeing as to whether grandparents can spend time with their grandkids. In that circumstance grandparents would be able to intervene, in that case, and ask the court to be able to spend time with their grandchildren. And the third circumstance, is if the grandchildren have been residing with grandparents for at least 12 consecutive months. And if that’s the case, and then parents remove the children from the home – or somebody else removes the children from the home, grandparents can file for partial physical custody within six months of the child’s removal. So those are the three circumstances, there are other circumstances under which grandparents would be able to file for custody, but these are the three sort of designed by the court to allow grandparents to just spend time with the grandchildren. It’s not like there’s and emergency situation or something like that.
So, if you guys are interested in this and you want to hear more custody rights or anything like that, just comment bellow and I’d be happy to do more of these. And if you have a particular question about your own personal circumstance, just give me a call I’m happy to talk with you! Thanks!