When your child is getting a divorce and going through a custody battle, you may wonder how it will affect you as the grandparent. You may worry that it could prevent you from seeing your grandchildren, and affect the close bonds you may have established with them. The relationships that children develop with their immediate family is important, and because of this, it’s a topic that should be discussed when your child is going through a divorce.
Fortunately, state laws and their courts are recognizing the value that extended family members can bring to the lives of children. Many grandparents don’t realize they have rights when it comes to their grandchildren. In Pennsylvania, both biological and adoptive grandparents have standing to institute custody proceedings under various circumstances, such as:
- When parents divorce or separate
- When a parent dies or becomes incapacitated
- If a parent’s mental illness or addiction has put your grandchild or close relative in harm’s way
- If a parent is in a situation where they need to leave their children for an extended period of time (e.g., military deployment, work obligations, incarceration, substance abuse)
While Pennsylvania law gives precedence to parental relationships in child custody and visitation determinations, grandparents do not need to be left in the cold. Once standing has been established, the court will determine the rights of grandparents based upon the best interests of the children involved. Among other things, courts will take into consideration the child’s relationship with the grandparent, the child’s wellbeing (physical and emotional), and the potential impact on the child.
At Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we understand the value of healthy family relationships and the benefits those relationships can yield to both children and adults. We know that strong bonds can make for better lives. To that end, our experienced family lawyers represent grandparents, relatives and others with strong interests in the welfare of children to obtain appropriate custody and visitation arrangements. We also assist clients who seek to adopt child relatives.
We believe that all children deserve love, guidance and support. To learn more about how our experienced Pittsburgh grandparents’ rights attorneys can assist you, contact Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby online, or by calling our office at 412-261-4040.