Do I Have the Right to Seek Custody of My Grandchild?

By Jones & Associates Law P.C.

Grandparents and grandchildren share a special bond. Grandparents impart their wisdom, love and attention to their grandchild and their grandchild responds with love.

But if your grandchild’s parents divorce one of the parents can swiftly sever the tie between you and your grandchild by not allowing you to spend time with them. If this happens, can you pursue custody of your grandchild?

When Can a Grandparent Seek Child Custody?

In Pennsylvania a grandparent can seek custody of their grandchild if the following elements are met.

First, the grandparent’s relationship with the grandparent must have begun with the parent’s permission or via an order of the court.

Second, the grandparent must be willing to take on the responsibilities of parenthood or has already been assuming these responsibilities.

Third, one of the following conditions must be satisfied. Either:

  • The child is a dependent who lacks suitable parental care and control

  • The child’s parents are abusive, neglectful or addicted to drugs or alcohol, or

  • The child has already been living with the grandparent for 12 months in a row and the child’s parents have since removed the child from the grandparent’s home

Grandparents have standing to seek physical or legal custody if the above requirements are met. Note that having standing only means they can pursue custody. They are not automatically granted custody without going through the proper legal processes.

Pennsylvania Protects Grandparents’ Rights

While parents in Pennsylvania generally control who their child will spend time with, grandparents in Pennsylvania also have rights regarding their grandchild. If you live in Media and you are concerned about whether you can pursue custody of your grandchild, you will want to learn as much as you can about family law and your rights as a grandparent.