Ask any grandparent about their grandchild and you are bound to be met with a big grin, a flash of photos, and lots and lots of bragging. There is something very special about this relationship: the special pride and enjoyment that comes with building a bond with your child’s children is truly remarkable. Unfortunately, divorce, separation, family strife, and even death can keep grandparents from seeing their grandchildren, threatening that relationship, and grandparents who care for their grandchildren or who are raising them may also find themselves facing legal challenges. In recognition of the importance and needs of the extended family, laws have been written to protect grandparents’ rights to see and spend time with their grandchildren. Smith & Horwitz are experienced grandparents' rights attorneys in Philadelphia who can protect your rights and help you maintain contact with your grandchildren.
Grandparents’ rights matters generally involve a few different situations:
- Parent is deceased
- Parent’s marriage is dissolved or parents are separated
- The child has resided with grandparents
- Physical and legal custody of the child
If your child has died and was a parent, it is natural for you to want to maintain your relationship with their child or children, especially if you had a relationship prior to your child’s death. Grandparents’ rights attorneys can help you to demonstrate that a continuation of that relationship is in the best interest of the child and will not interfere with the child’s relationship with their surviving parent. You may be able to gain visitation rights or even reasonable partial custody.
If your child’s marriage is dissolved or in the midst of a separation, the court allows visitation rights to grandparents or even reasonable partial custody in situations where it is in the best interest of the child and won’t interfere with the parent-child relationship. A grandparents’ rights attorney can file for this right as soon as divorce proceedings have been filed or the parents have been separated for six months or more.
There are many grandparents across the country and around the world who have had their grandchildren living with them for extended periods of time, for many reasons. When this has been the case for twelve months or more and the child is then removed from the home, it can be a wrenching experience for both the grandchild and the grandparent. If this has happened to you, we are able to petition the court for visitation rights, or even for reasonable partial custody.
In all cases involving grandparents’ rights, the issues that are of the most important to the court are whether there was a previously existing relationship between the grandparent and the child and whether continuing that relationship is in the best interest of the child. At Smith & Horwitz, we are passionate advocates on behalf of grandparents’ rights and can help you to demonstrate the strength of your bond and the importance of its continuation. Call us today to set up an appointment.