Child Custody Rights of Grandparents

In child custody matters the best interests of the child is the paramount consideration by the Court.  That may mean the child spends more time or no time with dad or mom.  It may also mean that the grandparents of that child receive court ordered partial or even sole physical and legal custody.

Under Pennsylvania Law Grandparents have standing to institute custody proceedings but only in limited circumstances.  Grandparents do not have standing to pursue custody if the child is part of an intact family and the child is not at risk.  What this means is that if the parents are living together with the child and the child has not been found dependent under juvenile law or the victim of parental abuse or neglect or exposed to drug or alcohol abuse or incapacity the grandparents do not have standing to institute custody proceedings.

In those circumstances where grandparents do have standing to pursue custody, the Court may still deny the request for custody if it determines it is not in the best interests of the child.  If for instance the custody request is deemed excessive or burdensome, interferes with the parent-child relationship or negatively affects the parents the Court may deny the request.  The parents of the child can also influence the Court’s determination as a parent’s decisions regarding partial or supervised custody is entitled to special weight.  The Court may however still grant custody to the grandparents over the parents’ objections.

If you have questions regarding the custody rights of grandparents contact me today for a free no obligation case evaluation.