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Grandparent Visitation Laws in Pennsylvania

Grandchild with Grandparent

Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights?

Grandparents play a significant role in their grandchildren’s lives in many families. When a child’s parents divorce or separate, it is not uncommon for grandparents to obtain visitation rights to have a loving and lasting relationship with their grandchild. 

According to Pennsylvania’s Grandparent Visitation Act, a grandparent can seek visitation—which is also known as “partial custody”—if the child’s nuclear family unit is broken. In addition, a grandparent must also show the court that the visitation schedule is in the best interests of the child and does not disrupt the child’s relationship with the parents. 

Questioning if you can get visitation rights as a grandparent? To speak with our attorneys about your rights, don't hesitate to contact us today. 

Under Pennsylvania law, grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights under the following circumstances: 

  1. The child’s parent(s) passed away 

  1. The child lived with the grandparent(s) for at least 12 months 

  1. The child’s parents have filed a divorce or separation action or have been separated for at least six months 

Regarding the third circumstance, a grandparent can file for visitation rights based on this situation when the grandparent’s relationship with the child started with the consent of a parent or under a court order, the child’s parents have begun the custody proceedings, and the parents do not agree on whether the grandparents should have visitation.  

Determining Factors to Decide Grandparents' Visitation Rights

Once a grandparent brings his/her case to court, a judge will consider the following factors to determine if grandparent visitation would be in the best interest of the child: 

  • The child’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being 

  • The relationship between the grandparent(s) and the child 

  • How grandparent visitation would affect the child’s growth and development 

  • The child’s wishes (depending on the child’s age and/or maturity) 

  • The child’s social and intellectual growth 

  • Education and extracurricular concerns 

  • Grandparent visitation would not cause harm to the child 

Grandparents must gather evidence to support their case. In addition, if there are concerns about the child’s safety in the current living environment, the grandparents need to prove the parents are unfit to take care of the child, which may result in child custody. 

If you are interested in obtaining grandparent visitation in Philadelphia, call William Kirby Law at (215) 515-9901 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule an initial consultation.