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Grandparent Rights to Child Custody in PA

Grandparent Rights to Child Custody in PA

When Act 21 passed into law in Pennsylvania in 2018, it changed how and when grandparents can seek custody of their grandchildren.

PA Act 21 expanded grandparent custody and third party custody categories and added to those able to request custody of a child through its courts.

As shown by recent statistics, the opioid epidemic has hit Pennsylvania hard, creating new trends in family structure. Prior to July 3, 2018, if a child’s parents became suddenly unavailable due to death or otherwise, only a grandparent, or a person already historically assuming a parenting role, could file for custody. Now, under Pennsylvania’s new law, other relatives or willing third parties may file for child custody so long as they have a sustained, substantial and sincere interest.

Aside from the right to file for primary physical custody, Pennsylvania law also permits qualifying grandparents the right to request partial physical custody (aka visitation).

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