WYOMISSING-READING-BERKS COUNTY GRANDPARENTS AND GREAT-GRANDPARENTS ATTORNEY
Attorney Jana R. Barnett represents grandparents and great-grandparents who seek custody or visitation rights, as well as parents who believe that grandparents and great-grandparents should not have the access which they desire.
The custody law gives grandparents the right to seek physical and legal custody when they:
- Stand in loco parentis to the child; or
- Do not stand in loco parentis to the child, but
- Whose relationship with the child began either with a parent’s consent or under a court order; and
- Who has assumed or is willing to assume responsibility for the child; and
- When the child either:
- Has been found to be a dependent child in juvenile court
- Is substantially at risk due to parental abuse, neglect, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or incapacity; or
- Has lived with the grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months, is removed from the grandparent’s home by the parents, and the grandparent files for custody within 6 months of removal; or
- Prove – by clear and convincing evidence – that
- Her or she has assumed or is willing to assume responsibility for the child;
- Has a sustained, substantial and sincere interest in the welfare of the child;
- Neither parent has any form of care and control of the child; and
- There is no pending dependency proceeding or an order of permanent legal custody through dependency.
In addition, both grandparents and great-grandparents may file for partial physical custody or supervised physical custody where:
- a parent of the child is deceased and the grandparent or great-grandparent is related to the deceased parent; or
- the person’s relationship with the child began either with the consent of a parent of the child or under a court order and where the parents of the child:
- commenced a proceeding for custody; and
- did not agree as to whether the grandparents or great-grandparents should have custody under this section; or
- when the child resided with the grandparent or great-grandparent for at least 12 consecutive months (excluding brief temporary absences of the child from the home), and is removed from the home by the parents, provided that the action is
If there is an existing custody lawsuit involving the children, grandparents or great-grandparents would ask the Court’s permission to intervene in that lawsuit.
If there is not an existing custody lawsuit involving the children, grandparents or great-grandparents would file a custody action against the parents.
A grandparent or great-grandparent’s custody rights granted before a child is adopted pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 5324 (relating to standing for any form of physical custody or legal custody) or § 5325 (relating to standing for partial physical custody and supervised physical custody) will be automatically terminated if the child is later adopted by someone other than a stepparent, grandparent or great-grandparent.
To read the statutes and related materials, please see use the drop-down menu.
If you would like to speak with Attorney Jana R. Barnett about the rights of grandparents or great-grandparents to seek custody or visitation, and learn how she can assist you, call her at 610-478-1860, or click here to send her an e-mail, and she will reply as quickly as possible.