Grandparents are often in a difficult situation when it comes to the custody of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania. The courts may deny them custodial rights even though they have been an integral part of the child’s life, or they may receive custodial rights without having ever met the child. What factors do courts consider when making this decision?
The capacity of both parents to raise the child
Usually, the court will only consider granting grandparent custodial rights if both parents are unable to qualify for custody. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as drug addiction, mental illness or imprisonment. If one parent is deceased or has had their parental rights terminated, the court also takes that into consideration.
The grandparent’s relationship with the child
The court may want to find out whether the grandparent has had a close and supportive relationship with the child in the past. They will look at how often the grandparent saw the child and whether they were involved in important decisions in the child’s life. The courts may, for instance, be more likely to grant the grandparent rights to the child if they’ve already stayed together for one year.
The grandparent’s ability to provide a safe and stable home
The court will also want to make sure that the grandparent can provide a safe and stable home for the child. They will look at things like the grandparent’s financial situation, their health and whether they have a criminal record. If the grandparent lives far away from the child’s other relatives, that may also be a factor that the court takes into consideration.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to grant grandparent custodial rights is up to the court and will vary on a case-by-case basis. However, these are some of the main factors that the court will take into consideration.