We have seen the American family demographic change dramatically in the 30 years we have been offering family law services. Increasingly, grandparents are playing a role in raising their grandchildren. In some situations, it makes sense to pursue formal legal custody.
Grandparent custody refers to the legal process by which a grandparent obtains physical custody and visitation rights for a grandchild. Under Pennsylvania law, this may be appropriate upon the death of a birth parent, after the parents’ divorce or when the grandchild has lived with the grandparent for at least a year. Grandparent custody might also be appropriate if neither parent is able to serve as a child’s custodian.
As in a child custody determination in a divorce, the family law court will consider the best interest of the child. The bottom line is finding a home environment that best fosters the child’s emotional, intellectual and physical growth. Many factors inform that standard, including the child’s own preferences. The court will examine how the proposed arrangement will impact the child’s adjustment to home, school and community, and whether a caregiver has the resources and abilities to raise and educate the child. A court may also look favorably on continuity, such as a grandparent who has already been present and active in a grandchild’s life.
Although we are skilled litigators that have attended numerous custody trials, we recognize that children do not benefit from a custody fight among the caregivers in their lives. Where possible, we will draw on our collaborative negotiation experience to find a solution that benefits everyone. Children can benefit from the loving influence of parents and grandparents alike.
Contact A Grandparent Custody Attorney
We have the family law advocacy and experience that will protect your role in your grandchild’s life. Call 717-769-1794 or complete our online contact form to set up a consultation with us at our Lebanon office.