Bucks County Grandparents’ Custody Rights
Visitation may be granted in Bucks County family law issues when at least one of the parents of the child is deceased, when the parents’ marriage is dissolved or the parents have been separated for six months or more, or when the child has resided with the grandparents for twelve months or more and is subsequently removed from the home by his parents.
The court must find that the visitation is in the best interest of the child and will not interfere with the parent-child relationship and must consider the amount of personal contact between the child and the grandparent prior to the application.
Grandparents may seek custody and visitation rights under certain circumstances:
- If a child’s parent has died, the deceased’s parents or grandparents (the grandparents or great-grandparents of the child) may get partial custody and/or visitation rights;
- If a child’s parents are unmarried, separated for six or more months, or have filed for divorce, the child’s grandparent or great-grandparent may get partial custody and/or visitation rights;
- If a child has lived with a grandparent for a year or more before being removed by the child’s parent(s), the grandparent may get partial custody and/or visitation; or
- If a grandparent has assumed the role of the child’s parent for a year or more, and it is not in the best interest of the child to be in the custody of either parent, the grandparent may get physical and legal custody.
Rights for Non-Parents in a Divorce
In all of the above cases, the Bucks County judge will consider the amount of contact the grandparent had with the child in the past and the judge must believe that the custody or visitation to the grandparent is in the child’s best interest. In addition, if you do not meet one of the above requirements but you have been acting in place of the child’s parent (known as in loco parentis), you may be able to get custody.
If you are the child’s uncle, aunt, cousin, etc., you cannot usually get custody or visitation of the child, unless you have acted in place of the child’s parent (in loco parentis). In that case, you may be able to get visitation rights or be awarded custody of the child.