What Are Grandparent Rights?: Estranged Grandparent Rights
In the case of Hiller v. Fausey, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the Pennsylvania Grandparent Visitation Statutes are constitutional and are a means to protect the emotional well-being of children who have been estranged from their grandparents. What does this mean when we’re talking about grandparent rights?
This means that grandparents in Pennsylvania may seek visitation or “reasonable partial custody” if a parent of the child has died, or if the parents are divorced, have filed for divorce, or have been separated for a minimum of six months.
Grandparents can also request physical or legal custody of a child if they already have legal status that allows them to act as the child’s parent, or under other specified circumstances, including:
- The child is a dependent child.
- The child is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse, or incapacity.
- The child has resided with the grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months, excluding brief temporary absences of the child from the home, and is removed from the home by the parents. In these cases, the grandparents’ actions must be filed within six months.
In addition, grandparents can also seek visitations rights, if the grandparent:
- 1. Has assumed or is willing to assume responsibility for the child.
- 2. Has a sustained, substantial and sincere, and best interest in the welfare of the child.
- 3. Neither parent has any form of care and control of the child.
At Kalinoski Law Offices P.C., we represent grandparents throughout northeastern Pennsylvania who want to spend time with their grandchildren, as well as those who have grandchildren who are substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, and drug or alcohol issues.
We also work with parents to get grandparent primary custody cases dismissed if grandparents do not meet the evidentiary requirements for the award of primary custody.
Grandparents’ rights cases are difficult to win. Even when strict evidentiary requirements are met, the trial court judge must still determine what is in a child’s best interests when making a decision.
Does Adoption Impact Grandparents Right to Visitation?
When a child is adopted by an individual other than a stepparent or grandparent, it greatly impacts the grandparent’s rights to see the child. In fact, upon adoption, any rights to seek physical custody or legal custody, visitation rights, etc., that had been previously granted are terminated.
However, if families are navigating the adoption of a relative, and are concerned about their rights to see the child, they need to seek legal counsel right away.
Contact Our Scranton Attorney For Grandparent Rights
The key to success in grandparent custody/visitation cases is first obtaining standing to seek custody, followed by persuasive arguments and a demonstration that the proposed action is in the best interest of the child.