Child Custody: Do Grandparents Have Any Visitation Rights in Pennsylvania?

A life changing event like a divorce or death may adversely affect the relationship between a child and a person who isn’t the child’s biological parent such as a grandparent. Various states have different laws that govern the ability of grandparents and other adults seeking custody or visitation. Pennsylvania courts recognize the rights of grandparents to seek visitation, partial or primary physical custody of their minor grandchild. The courts, however, will consider the best interests of the child before awarding custody or visitation.

There are some threshold questions if there is a family that is together.  However, if a family is going through a divorce, grandparents may seek partial physical custody or visitation with their grandchildren. And the court makes the determination, once again, if it’s in the best interest of the child or children to see the grandparents. Grandparents can get an order that so provides for it. It doesn’t matter if one of the parents doesn’t want it to happen; the court has to make an independent determination that it is in that child or children’s best interests to have time with the grandparent or grandparents.  In some situations even if the parents are not married, the grandparents may seek custodial rights with their grandchild if the parents do not live together.

The courts believe that whatever is in the child’s best interest should control whether grandparents should get independent time with their grandchild.

Categorized In: Custody, Grandparents

About the Authors

David Ladov - Conshohocken Divorce Attorney

David L. Ladov


Conshohocken Divorce Attorney David is a partner and chair of the Family Law Practice Group where he concentrates his practice in all areas of domestic relations, including divorce, custody, child support, equitable...

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Bob Whitelaw

Robert I Whitelaw


Bob is the co-chairman of the Family Law department and the Litigation department of Obermayer. He was the firm’s managing partner for 30 years and is still a member of the firm’s...

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