Grandparents’ Custody Rights

Legal Clinic for the Disabled, Inc.

Rodney Warner, Esq
Rodney Warner, Esq

In some circumstances, a grandparent can be awarded partial custody or visitation rights for a grandchild. Such a right could be exercised when,

  • The court finds it is in the best interests of the grandchild,
  • A birth parent is deceased,
  • The parents are divorced, or have been separated for six or more months (if they never married), or
  • When the grandchild lived with the grandparent for 12 or more months, then was removed by a parent.

In extreme circumstances, the grandparent may be granted full physical and legal custody. The grandparent would have to show,

  • It is in the best interest of the grandchild,
  • The grandparent has genuine care and concern for the grandchild,
  • The grandparent must have assumed the role of a parent for at least a year, or
  • It’s been determined the grandchild lacks proper parental care, or
  • There is parental abuse, neglect, substance abuse or mental illness.

Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania has a pamphlet about grandparent’s rights in Pennsylvania.  Check with other legal resources for information specific to your state.

One thought on “Grandparents’ Custody Rights

  1. Many of these bullet points are spot on. I would just add the additional caution that there can be variations from state to state and this is too important an issue to let ride on what you believe your legal rights to be. Seek local council, and let someone fight for your rights whether in Pennsylvania or elsewhere. Great post.

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