Do grandparents have rights in custody of their grandchildren? And to what extent? In a recent Bucks County custody case, the Court was faced with the issue of grandparents rights. After a trial, the court granted the paternal grandmother partial physical custody of her grandchild.
The Court based its decision upon 53 Pa.C.S. §5325 and 53 Pa.C.S. §5326 which allows grandparents to have custody rights and to file an action for partial or supervised physical custody in specific situations. Section 5326 maintains and preserves “any rights [of the grandparent] to seek physical custody or legal custody rights and any custody rights that have been granted [to the grandparent]”. In this particular case, she maintained her right to seek custody under these statutes because the child was adopted by the paternal grandfather.
Further, it was decided that based upon §5325(2), she was entitled to file an action for partial custody; this statute states, “where the parents of the child have been separated for a period of at least six months or have commenced and continued a proceeding to dissolve their marriage.” Also, the biological parents need not have been married for a grandparent to qualify.
Ultimately, the Court relied heavily upon the facts surrounding the best interests of the child. Based upon testimony of the family, adoptive parents and therapists, it was most beneficial for the child to continue her relationship with the grandmother. It was found that removing the grandparent from the child’s life would be insensitive to the already tumultuous emotional state of the child.
If you are faced with a similar situation and want to know more about Grandparents Rights, and the procedure and grounds in filing for custody, contact the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C.at (215) 942-2100 or complete our quick contact form at top right for your questions.