Grandparents have special relationships with their grandchildren, and in some cases, it is necessary for them to step in and take a parental role as well. Cases in which the parents are unfit or other unique circumstances exist, grandparents may have a valid claim to custody. These are complex cases, but the court’s ultimate goal is to protect the interests of the children.
If you are a grandparent and you believe that seeking custody is in the best interests of your grandchildren, you may want to gain more information. It is beneficial to take action to learn about your custodial rights and options under Pennsylvania law. You do not have to walk through this process alone.
A valid claim to custody
It can be difficult to know if you have a valid claim to custody of your grandchildren. While the law does recognize the rights of grandparents in limited situations, there are important factors and circumstances taken into consideration when making a child custody determination. In many cases, grandparents may have a valid claim to custody if the following factors apply to their situation:
- Your grandkids could be going into foster care.
- One or both parents are unfit for any reason.
- One parent died and the other cannot or does not want to care for the children.
The above examples are not the only reasons why a grandparent may be able to get custody, but you would be wise to seek help regarding the possible legal options available to you. If seeking custody is not an option, you still may be able to seek visitation time with your grandkids. You may be able to gain access to your grandkids under the following circumstances:
- It is the wishes of the grandkids to remain in contact with grandparents.
- There is evidence that continued contact is in the best emotional and mental interests of the grandkids.
- You already have a strong relationship with your grandchildren.
Before you start the process of seeking custody or visitation, it may benefit you to start by reaching out for help and guidance for the entire process.
Protecting an important relationship
When your grandchildren are experiencing a negative home life for various reasons or you currently cannot maintain an active role in their lives, there may be steps you can take. Custody and visitation are complex legal issues, and it could help to have experienced legal counsel from the very beginning.
It may be useful to start with a complete evaluation of your case as you seek to better understand your rights and how you can fight for the well-being of your grandchildren.