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Grandparent rights during the holidays in Pennsylvania

Do grandparents have the right to see their grandchildren during the holidays? These cases can be complicated, but to understand what rights you have, you need to know the laws for grandparent custody and visitation in Pennsylvania. If both parents don't want the grandparent to play a role in the child's life, then the courts are likely to uphold that decision.

There are ways for grandparents to seek visitation, but there are strict rules. For instance, grandparents can seek custody or visitation if a parent has died or if the parents were divorcing or separated for more than six months when not in divorce proceedings. If a child had previously resided with a grandparent for 12 months or longer and had been removed by the parents, this could also open up the possibility of allowing for grandparent visitation or custody arrangements.

Now, there is an additional level of rules to overcome, with the courts requiring that grandparents file with the court by a strict deadline; missing it could mean being unable to request visitation or custody rights in the future.

For the approaching holidays, one of the best options is to seek out mediation, since there may not be enough time to get into court. There may be a way to arrange a time for grandparents to visit in an appropriate setting, so they can see their grandchildren and participate in their lives. Mediation can help work out a solution temporarily or be used in the future to plan out times when the children's grandparents are able to see them.

Source: The Legal Intelligencer, "Grandparents' Rights in Child Custody Getting More Difficult to Pursue," John A. Zurzola, Nov. 23, 2016

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