In Pennsylvania, as in most states, when a couple divorces, one parent may be granted custody of any minor children and the other parent is given visitation rights. Still, what about grandparents? Will they also have access to their grandchildren? In other words, do these important family members also have visitation or custody rights?
In Pennsylvania and in states across the United States, any discussion about the custody of children focuses on their best interests. This mostly happens in divorce cases, but increasingly grandparents are having to consider those interests because they are stepping up when their children are deemed unfit parents or are otherwise incapable of raising their grandchildren.
Older Americans, including many living in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are the primary caregivers of their children's children, a trend that is likely to continue, due to nontraditional family structures that are so common today. Many grandchildren also live in households headed by their grandparents, often without benefit of a parent in the household as well. Nontraditional family structures such as single parenting, unplanned parenthood, divorce and remarriage of their children are often reasons why grandparents assume some parenting responsibility of their grandchildren.