This day in age, there seems to be an ever increasing number of grandparents that are taking on parental duties for their grandchildren. It is one thing to take on the day to day duties of the parent, and quite another to have all of the legal rights that a parent has. What steps then must a grandparent or grandparents take if they want to have decision making power and legal physical custody of the grandchild?
Every parent has their own unique parenting style, however, many people when starting to raise a child look to their own parents, the child's grandparents, for advice and guidance on everything from diaper changing to discipline. Although grandparents can play an important role in raising a young child, some parent's don't want any interference from their child's grandparents. Is it their right to restrict access of grandparents to children? Grandparent rights are exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court will address this winter.
Pennsylvania courts are not obliged to follow any precedents set by state-level courts of any other state. If a judicial opinion from another state is very similar to a Pennsylvania case, though, and the laws applied in it are also similar, and the legal reasoning is very strong, an out-of-state case can have some weight with a Pennsylvania court. For that reason, out-of-state cases can mean something in a Pennsylvania grandparents' rights case. If nothing else, grandparents arguing for their rights in a Pennsylvania courtroom will probably have to prepare to make an argument for or against applying the reasoning that was applied in a similar non-Pennsylvania case.
The grandparents of a three-year-old girl are currently on trial on charges of illegally fleeing with the child. The girl's mother is a long-distance truck driver. As a result, she had previously relinquished her child custody rights in favor of her parents. The little girl rarely had any contact with her father. Apparently, this was because the grandparents decided that it was not in her best interest if she were to visit him. As a result, the mother says that she had to sneak visits in order for the father to see his little girl.
When parents deny grandparents any visitation with their grandchildren, grandparents may petition the family court for visitation rights if it is in the best interest of the grandchildren. Sometimes, however, the court may find that the parents have a good reason for denying grandparents visitation rights with the grandchildren.