Parental separation affects more than just the immediate family unit. Grandparents may find themselves collateral damage during a breakup.
The relationship between children and grandparents is meaningful, but it does not outrank the parents. While they may not have the same rights as parents, under Pennsylvania law, grandparents may pursue custody in limited circumstances. Find out more about when grandparents may have a chance at gaining custody rights through the court.
The reason for action
There are three reasons the law allows grandparents to seek custody. When a parent dies, the law allows grandparents to pursue the custody rights of that parent. In the event of estrangement, grandparents may want a judge to give them the right to see their grandchildren. They may only pursue this after the parents file for divorce or custody first. Finally, if grandparents became the primary caregivers of their grandchildren for at least one year, they may file for custody.
The best interests of the children
The court considers what is best for the children in all custody proceedings. If the judge believes a continued relationship with the grandparents is in the best interests of the children, then the court may grant it. The court does not like to go against parental wishes. If there is a valid reason why the parents do not want the children to see the grandparents, a judge may decide not to go against parental wishes.
When it comes to a court of law deciding who children have relationships with after the divorce, the results may not end up as desired. However, if the grandparents have reasonable cause to act on behalf of their grandchildren, the court may rule in their favor.