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What are grandparents' rights and the laws concerning them?

The make-up and dynamics of families are different today than they used to in some ways and are commonly changing. The role of grandparents has also changed in some families and an increasing focus on grandparents' rights has been present in society today and the laws reflect that. Laws in each state govern grandparent visitation and many grandparents may wonder what grandparents' rights are and how those laws may impact a request for visitation of their grandchildren.

It is important for grandparents seeking visitation rights or child custody rights to understand the laws in their state. State laws help to determine under what conditions visitation may be granted, the factors the court considers when determining whether or not to grant visitation and the proper venue in which to request grandparent visitation. It is important to keep in mind that all states consider the best interests of the child before determining child custody and visitation, including grandparent visitation.

In Pennsylvania, grandparent visitation may be granted in circumstances when one parent of the child is deceased; when the parents are divorced or have been separated for greater than 6 months; or if the child has lived with the grandparents for greater than 12 months. The court will consider the contact between the grandparent and the grandchild; the potential for interference with the relationship between the parent and the child; and the bests interests of the child when determining whether or not to allow grandparent visitation.

Requests for grandparent visitation rights can be complex but they can also be important for the parties and family involved. Family law seeks to provide resources for families to help them through the challenges they may face, including those associated with child custody and grandparent visitation rights.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Grandparent Visitation Rights," Accessed April 26, 2016

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