In Pennsylvania, a grandparent may seek custody rights over a grandchild under one of the following three scenarios:
- Scenario #1: The grandparent has acted as a parent to the child and taken on the responsibilities of parenthood for a period of time. This is known as acting in loco parentis – or acting “in the place of a parent.”
- Scenario #2: A grandparent who has not acted in loco parentis still may seek custody of the child if:
- A parent of the child allowed the grandparent to form a relationship with the child; and
- The grandparent is willing to take responsibility for the child; and
- One of the following circumstances exists:
- The child is deemed “dependent” under Pennsylvania’s child abuse and neglect law; or
- The child is deemed substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol use, or incapacity; or
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months (not counting brief absences) and is removed from the home by the parents.
- Scenario #3: A grandparent may seek partial physical custody or supervised physical custody in the following situations:
- The parent of the child has died; or
- The parents of the child have been separated for at least six months or have started divorce proceedings; or
To learn more about grandparent custody rights in Pennsylvania, call Spivak Law Firm at (412) 344-4900 or toll free at (800) 545-9390.