Divorce proceedings can be amicable or filled with animosity. Dissolving a marriage involves a number of intricate steps — dividing up property, determining custody, calculating support — these are the standard procedures that everybody anticipates and prepares for. Visitation schedules and living arrangements for children are often the most challenging aspect of any divorce, and with the majority of the attention being focused on the interests of each parent, grandparents are often left out of the equation entirely.
At the law firm of Smith and Horwitz, we are highly successful grandparent's rights lawyers. We are dedicated to your legal rights because we know that grandparents are integral to a child’s sense of who they are and where they fit into a family. They provide unconditional love and a sense of stability that is of tremendous value to a child whose world is being shaken by the turmoil of divorce. If your child’s divorce has created a disruption in your relationship with their children, we can help. We have extensive experience in helping grandparents restore their ability to connect with their grandchildren.
The rights of grandparents are clearly established in the state of Pennsylvania, which provides custody or visitation rights in several different scenarios.
- If your child has died, you may be granted reasonable partial custody or visitation rights or both if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child and will not interfere with their relationship with the surviving parent.
- If your child is either divorced or separated for a period of six months or more, you may be granted reasonable partial custody or visitation rights or both if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child and will not interfere with the parent-child relationship.
- If your grandchild has lived with you for a year or more and is then removed by their parent(s), you may be granted reasonable partial custody or visitation rights or both if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child and will not interfere with the parent-child relationship.
In all of these instances, the court will consider what amount of personal contact is best.
The Pennsylvania courts have also established that there are some situations in which a grandparent can be awarded physical and legal custody of their grandchild. As in all other situations, it is the child’s best interest that is first and foremost in this decision. The court considers who has genuine care and concern for the child, the strength and duration of the relationship with the child, and other important factors such as the risk of abuse or neglect. In some cases, a custody order may be awarded temporarily.
In grandparent's rights cases, it is essential that you provide yourself with an experienced, compassionate advocate who will work tirelessly on behalf of your rights as a grandparent and of what is best for your grandchildren. Call us today to get the answers to all of your questions.