Many grandparents feel like their relationship with their grandchildren is entirely dependent on the goodwill of their child or their child’s romantic partner. Especially when grandparents have a falling out with their child or their child goes through a contentious divorce, relationship difficulties could endanger the very valuable bond between grandparent and grandchild.

The good news is that you don’t have to live your life entirely at the mercy of your child’s former spouse or a child with whom you had a falling-out, possibly due to drug use or other questionable behaviors. You have the right to ask for visitation or possibly even custody as a grandparent in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania family law acknowledges the role of grandparents

Grandparents often play multiple critical roles in the life of a young child. They may be a secondary source of financial support or may provide child care while parents are working. They can assist the parents in learning the nuances of raising a child.

They also sometimes have no choice but to step up into an actual parental role if their child has health issues, struggles with addiction or winds up arrested. In some cases, unmarried parents may live with the grandparents of their children as a way to keep living costs affordable.

Those kinds of situations mean that the children will develop a strong bond with their grandparents, which may give the grandparents the right to request custody or visitation, sometimes also called partial custody. The law in Pennsylvania specifically references the right of grandparents with existing relationships with their grandchildren to seek custody or visitation. 

Going through the courts secures your relationship

You shouldn’t have to worry if the mood of the custodial parent will interfere with your time with your grandchildren. Informal arrangements leave much to be desired when it comes to grandparents’ rights. They can change with little cause or option for redress for the grandparents suddenly cut out of a child’s life.

Going through the courts and seeking visitation or even shared custody will give you a legal and enforceable right to be a part of your grandchildren’s life. Not only will that benefit you, but it will also benefit your grandkids, especially if they have been going through a difficult time.