Grandparents are the great unsung heroes of family life. They provide unpaid childcare for busy parents all across Pennsylvania and bring fun and treats into many small children’s lives.
Yet, sometimes a mother or father can deny you the joy of being a grandparent by preventing you from seeing their child or taking an active role in the child’s life. The rules vary from state to state, but the law considers parents essential to a child, whereas grandparents are less so. Thus, a parent has far more rights than a grandparent, often including the right to stop a grandparent seeing a child.
In Pennsylvania, you have no legal basis for claiming the right to visit your grandchild if the parents are married and capable of taking care of their child. However, if they divorce, things change. Once they have been divorced for six months, you can file for visitation rights. You can also do so in these two circumstances:
- One or both parents has died.
- The child previously lived with you for at least one year.
A court must consider what is in the best interests of the child. If giving you access causes problems between the parent and their child, a judge may decide that it is better if you do not visit. A parent could bring up a range of issues to convince a court you should not get access. If you have had any problems with drugs, alcohol or crime, do not be surprised if they use this against you.
If you wish to visit your Pennsylvania grandchildren and are having problems doing so, seek legal help to see if there is a way to achieve your goal.