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A Philadelphia Grandparent’s Guide to Child Custody

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QUESTION: “Under what conditions will a judge grant my request for visitation with my grandchild?”

In most cases, the best person to care for the child is the child’s parents. Sadly, this isn’t always true. There are circumstances when living with a parent could put the child in danger of abuse or neglect. When this is the case, a grandparent might want to seek custody.

Sometimes, the parent realizes that the grandparent is better able to raise the child and requests that the grandparent stand in loco parentis to the child. This means that the grandparent acts as a parent to the child with the consent of the child’s biological parents. A judge will normally grant custody to grandparents if the parent requests it. But, it isn’t so easy when the parent also wants custody.

A parent is legally entitled to custody of his or her child unless the parent is unfit or unable to properly care for the child.  You may not approve of your daughter’s lifestyle, religion, or friends, but she has the right to raise her child as she likes as long as the child isn’t abused or neglected. You can’t seek custody simply because you don’t like your daughter’s choices.

However, you can be awarded custody if you can show that child would be harmed if the child was to stay with the parent. Threats to a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing include:

  • Abandonment
  • Lack of basic care
  • Physical neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Physical incapacity
  • Mental incapacity

Unfortunately, your word is not enough to show that the child is in danger. You must have the documentation to show the court that the child is at risk. Proper documentation may include medical records, school records and witness reports. You may need the assistance of an attorney to obtain this documentation.

You love your grandchild and want him to have the best possible care. Call Petrelli Previtera at 866-465-5395. We’ll be happy to discuss your options.

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