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Grandparents' Rights

Ensuring Meaningful Connections: Considerate Strategies for Grandparents' Rights at Liebmann Family Law

Learn More about Grandparents’ Rights

Research shows – and your own personal experience confirms – that children benefit from having as many loving family members as possible in their lives. Regardless of the circumstances that resulted in you losing access to your grandchildren, the law in Pennsylvania often recognizes your right to continue those relationships.


When can a grandparent gain visitation rights with their grandchild?

In Pennsylvania, grandparents can seek a court order allowing visitation when any one of the following conditions are met:

  • the child's parent(s) is deceased

  • the child's parents have been separated for at least six months or have filed a divorce or separation action, or

  • the child has resided with the grandparent for at least 12 months.


To succeed in court, grandparents must also be able to show:

  • they have had a substantial role in their grandchild’s life established through regular visits

  • their continued participation in their grandchild’s life would be in the child’s best interests, and

  • the visitation arrangement will not interfere with the child’s relationship with their custodial parent(s)


When Can a Grandparent Obtain Custody of a Grandchild?

In rare instances, a grandparent may seek custody of a grandchild to protect the child from abuse or neglect. Pennsylvania law allows a grandparent to file an action for custody when the following conditions are met:

  • the grandparent has a relationship with the child that was encouraged by the child's parent or a result of a court order

  • the grandparent presently assumes custody of the child or is willing to assume custody, and

  • one of the additional conditions is met:

    • the child is a dependent child under the age of 18

    • the child is at a substantial risk of parental neglect, abuse or drug and alcohol abuse, or

    • the child has lived with the grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months.


Even when these criteria are met, a court must determine that awarding custody to a grandparent serves the child's best interests. Some of the factors a judge will consider when evaluating a child's best interests, include:

  • the child's contact with the grandparent prior to the custody filing

  • whether awarding grandparent custody interferes with any parent-child relationship, and

  • whether awarding grandparent custody meets a child's emotional and physical needs.


Situations of this nature are delicate and emotions can run high. The caring and compassionate legal experts are Liebmann Family Law are experienced in handling these matters in a way that preserves respect and dignity for everyone involved.

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