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Do I have custody rights as a grandparent?

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2019 | Child Custody

As you prepare for the holidays, you look forward to spending time with your family. And with your grandchildren around, you hope to share memories and pass along family traditions. But what happens if your grandchildren’s parents don’t include you in a custody agreement?

Whether your child is unmarried or recently divorced, a custody arrangement can significantly cut into your time with your grandchildren. But in Pennsylvania, you may be able to ask a judge to grant you custodial time.

Grandparents can be excluded from custody arrangements

Pennsylvania law recognizes that relationships between grandparents and grandchildren are important. But disagreements over custody arrangements can keep children from seeing other family members.

If your child loses out on custody of your grandchildren, the other parent may try to keep you from seeing them. However, you can ask a Pennsylvania court to grant you partial physical custody or supervised physical custody.

How does the court determine my right to custodial time?

For the court to grant you partial or supervised physical custody, the judge will consider three different factors:

  • If your child, the parent of your grandchildren, has passed away
  • If you have a relationship confirmed by either the parent of your grandchildren or a court order, and the children’s parents, while going through the process of deciding custody, can’t agree on letting you have custodial time
  • If your grandchildren lived with you for at least 12 consecutive months and you file a request within six months of their parent taking them from you

After considering these situations, the judge will decide how strong your bond is with your grandchildren, and if time with you is in their best interest. The court also considers how your custodial time will affect the relationship between your grandchildren and their parents.

Grandparents can ask the court for custody rights

When your child goes through the custody process, he or she may not fight for your time with your grandchildren. Or the other parent may even try to deny you custodial time. But Pennsylvania allows you to fight for partial or supervised physical custody of your grandchildren.