One of the most heartbreaking effects of divorce is the impact it has on extended family. While divorce protects the interests of parents, it has not always taken grandparents and extended family into consideration.
The state of Pennsylvania has realized that the negative impact divorce has on the relationships between children and their grandparents is not in anyone’s best interest. The state passed legislation to protect that precious relationship.
Do grandparents have visitation rights in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania introduced the Grandparents Visitation Act to support the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren, and to provide partial custody rights that allow them to file for visitation.
When can grandparents file for visitation privileges?
Pennsylvania courts will hear a request for grandparent visitation when:
- The child’s parents divorce
- The child’s parents separate
- One parent has died
- After your grandchild has lived in your home for at least a year
You must prove that visitation with you would enhance your grandchild’s well-being and would not be disruptive to the child’s relationship with their parents.
How does the court determine the child’s best interest?
Pennsylvania courts consider many factors when making a decision about custody and visitation. These factors can include:
- Whether either parent has a history of neglect or abuse
- The child’s relationships with siblings and extended family
- The stability of the existing home environment
- The physical and emotional health of the children and parents
If grandparents have any concerns about the issues that interest the court they can also include that information in their application for visitation rights.
The relationship between grandparent and grandchild is precious. The state of Pennsylvania recognizes this and provides a way for you to stay close.