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Do grandparents have visitation rights?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2024 | Child Custody |

In Pennsylvania, grandparents can have visitation rights under certain conditions. These rights are not automatic, and the court will consider several factors before granting visitation.

Understanding the circumstances in which grandparents can seek visitation is important for maintaining family relationships.

1. Divorce or separation

Grandparents can seek visitation rights if the parents of the child are divorced or separated for six months or more. This provides an opportunity for grandparents to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren during a difficult family transition.

2. Death of a parent

Grandparents can also seek visitation if a parent has passed away. This allows the grandparent to offer support and maintain a bond with the grandchild during a time of loss.

3. Child living with grandparent

If the child was raised by a grandparent, or they have lived together for at least 12 months, and is then removed by the parents, the grandparent can seek visitation within six months of the removal. This helps preserve the established relationship between the grandparent and the child.

4. Best interests of the child

The court will look at the best interests of the child when deciding on visitation. Factors such as the child’s emotional needs, the relationship between the grandparent and the child and any potential impact on the child’s well-being are considerations.

5. Close relationship

The court must consider the relationship between the grandparent and the child. If the grandparent has maintained a close, positive relationship with the child, the court is more likely to grant visitation.

6. Parents’ wishes

Another important factor is the parents’ wishes. The court respects the parents’ rights to make decisions for their child. If both parents oppose the visitation, the court will consider their reasons. However, if the grandparent can prove that visitation is in the best interest of the child, the court may grant visitation despite parental objections.

7. Child’s wishes

In cases where the child is mature enough, the court may consider the child’s wishes. The child’s preference can influence the court’s decision, especially if the child has a strong bond with the grandparent.

If you are seeking to establish visitation rights with a grandchild, being aware of these factors can help you navigate the legal process and maintain meaningful relationships with your young family members.