A Philadelphia resident may relocate to a different city or even a different state or country because of a new job or a job transfer. In the event that the person has primary custody of the children, the situation may become complicated due to child custody and the visitation rights of the non-custodial parent. In fact, the non-custodial parent may be very upset about not being able to visit the children as frequently or easily as before.
Pennsylvania law allows grandparents several visitation rights. In some cases, the grandparent may even be entitled to child custody in cases where the biological parents are unable to take care of the child or if it has been deemed to be in the best interest of the child by a Philadelphia family court judge.
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?
Child custody is an important issue often discussed in divorce cases in Philadelphia. The end of marriage does not sever the ties between parents and their children. When parents discuss child custody, emotions may run high and parents are often caught in a whirlwind of issues that often take their attention away from the most important thing -- the future of their children. Constructing a custody agreement is easy in amicable divorces, but contentious divorces often leads to lengthy custody battle where both parents argue in court, attempting to prove that they are fit to raise the children.
A growing number of grandparents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are becoming more involved in raising their grandchildren. In many cases, children spend their vacations with their grandparents or visit their grandparents whenever they have time to do so. This can suddenly change when the children's parents separate or divorce. The grandparents' ties to their grandchildren may be abruptly cut off in such cases, leaving them with no option but to find a way to maintain their relationship with their grandchildren.
In every state, Pennsylvania included, grandparents sometimes become replacement parents for their grandchildren when their own children can no longer act as parents. This often happens when their children are in the middle of divorce or are in difficult situations with domestic violence, serious illness or alcohol or drug problems. If the grandchildren's parents decide to divorce, this changes who has custody of the children. In many cases, grandparents are barred from seeing their grandchildren. When this happens, grandparents can seek to have their visitation rights upheld, especially if they have provided care for their grandchildren on a regular basis.
The custody of Philadelphia minor children is a sensitive topic that often arises in divorce and in cases where the parents were never married. Who will have custody and what visitation rights will be granted to the other parent are determined during the divorce process. The prevailing principle in any child-custody decision made by a court is for the child's best interests and future. Because emotions often run high during child-custody discussions, we often advise our clients to remain calm and focus on the outcome -- how the custody arrangement will affect the child's future and the parent's relationship to his or her child.
Historically, child custody and visitation issues arising from divorce only involved parents. But, recent legal trends now have family law courts considering the importance of grandparents in a child' life and allowing grandparents to gain custody or visitation rights, depending on the circumstances. If you are a grandparent who wants to be more involved in the growth and development of your grandchild, it is important to first learn what your grandparents' rights are. Knowing your rights will allow sound decision making for the benefit of your grandchild.
Raising a child is the generally the responsibility of his or her parents. Pennsylvania readers are aware that not all parents are fit to raise a child, which is the reason why some children live in foster homes or are adopted. Some custody arrangements extend grandparents visitation rights if it's in the best interests of the child. Those same grandparent rights can be exercised in cases where a parent is no longer fit to raise a child. Parents could be considered unfit when domestic violence is present or when a parent is arrested on criminal charges.
Anywhere in the country, including Pennsylvania, the legal process of divorce can move quickly, if a couple has little in property or assets or if no children are involved. The presence of minor children, though, means the parents will need to discuss child custody and visitation rights, both which can prolong the divorce process. Unfortunately, this too often means both parents arguing over who will make the better custodial parent, and who will only get weekends with the kids. Before engaging in such pitched battle in which children become pawns, parents should consider the following when it comes to making sound decisions about their children's custody arrangements.