Can Grandparent Rights Be Denied?February 20, 2023
Many grandparents contribute positively to their grandchildren’s lives. Some go as far as caring for their grandchildren when the child’s parents cannot.
At times, some grandparents abuse their rights or want complete custody of the children. When this happens, parents may find themselves in a legal dispute with grandparents. It’s important to understand your parental rights under Pennsylvania law. Only then will you be able to defend your relationship with your children.
Concerned about a grandparent’s rights for custody or visitation? Here’s what you should know.
What Rights Do Grandparents Have in Pennsylvania?
Since 2011, Pennsylvania law has allowed grandparents to file for any form of custody under certain circumstances. They might get physical custody, where the child lives with them, or legal custody allowing them to make significant decisions affecting the child’s interests.
PA Act 21 of 2018 introduced a clause allowing any person to file for custody if they are responsible for the child, have a history of sincere and substantial interest in the child’s well-being, and neither parent has care or control of the child. This provision allows grandparents, other relatives, or concerned parties to file for child custody.
Grandparents may also file for partial physical custody or visitation rights, provided the child’s parent is dead, the child has lived with them for a year, or they have an established relationship with the parents where at least one parent is in favor of the grandparent’s right to custody and the parents disagree.
How to Build a Case Against Grandparent Rights
Even if someone has the right to file for any form of custody, they must still build a convincing case by testifying to the court and presenting evidence demonstrating why they should be awarded custody. A parent can counter this by making their own compelling case.
Courts act in the child’s best interest, as set forth in the Pennsylvania Custody Act. If a parent can show that denying grandparent rights benefits the child, the court may rule against them.
If you are a divorced parent, and the grandparents’ visitation conflicts with your access, the court may deny them custody rights to protect your relationship with your child or the court may direct that the grandparents have visitation during the custodial time of the parent who wants the grandparents to have contact. If you have moved away from where they live, they may desire more contact with your child; you should demonstrate that they have sufficient contact, and the arrangement doesn’t harm the child.
Some will even testify to the court that you are unfit to be a parent, as you are not loving, thus harming your child’s emotional well-being. To counter this, collect documents such as medical records and educational papers and call in witnesses to convince the court that you have created a stable and nurturing environment for your child.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you, as a parent, have a dispute with your child’s grandparents regarding visitation or custody rights, reach out to the seasoned legal representatives at Daley Zucker for guidance. Our attorneys have many years of experience in family law.
Contact Daley Zucker for help or phone (717) 674-8797 today!