There is a popular saying that only the best parents get promoted to grandparents, and while that isn’t true, having grandchildren in your life can certainly feel like a reward for successful parenting.
There is something unique and beautiful about the relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild that benefits both the adults and the child throughout their lives.
Unfortunately, your relationship with your grandchild likely depends on maintaining a positive relationship with your child or the other biological parent. If your child has lost custody to the other parent or if you have had a falling-out with your child, you could wind up cut out of the life of your grandchild indefinitely.
Alienation between a grandparent and a grandchild who have a pre-existing, positive relationship won’t just hurt the grandparent. That alienation can do damage to the child involved as well.
Thankfully, Pennsylvania recognizes the important role that grandparents play in the lives of children and allows grandparents to seek visitation.
As with custody issues, the main concern is what the child needs
Whenever the Pennsylvania family courts have to make decisions regarding the custody or care of a child, the best interests of that child will guide their decisions. In most cases, the courts recognize that a broad base of social support provided by both biological parents and other adults with positive relationships with the child will benefit the child more than isolation.
Adults who have an existing relationship can ask the courts to protect that relationship when custody issues or family conflicts impact access to the child. Pennsylvania family law specifically allows grandparents the right to seek visitation, even if the parent with primary or full legal custody does not want their child to interact with their grandparents.
Provided that you can show you have a previous relationship with the child and that your relationship is positive for your grandchild, the courts will likely do whatever they can to encourage your ongoing relationship.
How to demonstrate that your relationship is positive for the child
Gathering evidence that you played an important social role in the life of a grandchild doesn’t need to be difficult. Evidence could include photographs or selfies taken when you were together, proof that the child lived with you, receipts for trips, gifts or important supplies you obtained for your grandchild, and even the testimony of that grandchild if courts agree they are old or mature enough to testify about their own preferences.
Standing up for the relationship with your grandchild can benefit both of you in the long term. Although it may place additional strain on your relationship with the custodial parent, in time, they will hopefully recognize your positive influence and come to understand the value of your ongoing role in the life of their child.