Pennsylvania and New Jersey Grandparent Rights
Families experience far-reaching effects when couples divorce. For instance, if the couple has children, the rights of grandparents can become a matter of concern. US states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, recognize the importance of maintaining strong family connections.
If you are a grandparent who would like to discuss your rights, including exploring when visitation is possible, have a conversation with a Bucks County family attorney.
What Are My Grandparent Rights in Pennsylvania?
Under Pennsylvania law, there are specific visitation rights for grandparents to have time with their grandchildren in certain situations, including the following.
- Parents of the children are divorced or separated. Grandparents can petition a family court for visitation if the parents of their grandchildren have been separated for at least six months or are in the process of divorce.
- A parent is deceased. If one parent has passed away, the surviving grandparents may be able to secure visitation with their grandchildren. The exception is if there is reason to believe the grandparent visitations would be against the child’s best interests.
- Disruption of a family. When there is documentation of a substantial change in the family unit, grandparents may seek visitation.
- Substantial grandparent-grandchild relationship. If a grandparent can demonstrate an ongoing relationship with the child, the court may grant visitation rights.
As is true for parental custody determinations, Pennsylvania courts prioritize the interests of the child when reviewing a grandparent visitation request. Many factors could go into a final decision. A seasoned family lawyer can guide you through the process.
What If My Family Lives in New Jersey?
While state laws vary depending on the case, New Jersey also recognizes the importance of grandparents and grandchildren maintaining relationships. NJ grandparents may be able to secure visitation rights in the following circumstances.
- There has been a divorce or separation. Grandparents can request visitation if the parents are divorced, separated, or living separately and a custody dispute has arisen.
- Deceased parent. Grandparents of a parent who has passed away can seek visitation with the child.
- Unfit parent. If a New Jersey family court determines that one or both parents are unfit, the grandparents can move to be granted visitation rights.
As in Pennsylvania, New Jersey courts base their decisions on the child’s interests, ensuring that any visitation arrangement is in the child’s favor.
Navigating the legal complexities of grandparent visitation rights is often emotional and challenging, but an experienced family attorney can help you understand the specific state laws that apply to your case. If you are a grandparent and are unsure how to start the process, talk to a Bucks County family attorney about preparing and filing the necessary legal documents to petition for visitation rights.
Are you a Pennsylvania or New Jersey grandparent who wants to secure regular visits with your grandkids? Grandparents have rights, but certain conditions need to be met. Knowledgeable family attorneys know how to help grandparents protect their relationships with their grandchildren. Have a conversation with the lawyers at Kardos, Rickles & Hand to learn more. Call 215-968-6602 to schedule your consultation today.