I am the child's grandparent or great-grandparent. Can I get custody or visitation?
Anyone (including grandparents or great-grandparents) can file for any form of custody of the child if they meet the requirements in Who is entitled to seek custody?
In addition, grandparents and great-grandparents can file for visitation (known as partial physical custody or supervised physical custody)1 under one of the following conditions:
- If a child’s parent has died, a parent or grandparent of the deceased parent can file.
- If the child:
- lived with the grandparent or great-grandparent for a period of at least 12 months in a row (not counting any brief temporary absences of the child from the home); and
- was removed from the grandparent’s home by the parent(s). Note: In this case, the custody petition must be filed within six months after the child is removed from the grandparent’s home.
- If the relationship between the grandparent or great-grandparent and the child began with the consent of one of the parents or because of a court order, and now the parents of the child:
- began a custody proceeding in court; and
- do not agree as to whether the grandparents or great-grandparents should have custody.2
In ordering visitation (partial or supervised physical custody), the judge should consider the following:
- the amount of personal contact between the child and the grandparent/great-grandparent before s/he filed the custody petition (but this doesn’t apply to the situation described in #3 above);
- whether the partial or supervised custody would interfere with any parent-child relationship; and
- whether it is in the best interest of the child.3
1 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5322(b)
2 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5325
3 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5328(c)