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  1. #1
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Do Great Grandparents Have Any Rights to Visitation

    My question involves grandparents rights in the State of: Pa. I would like to see my great grandchild. Up to this point I have not even meet the child. Do I have any rights??

  2. #2

    Default Re: Do Great Grandparents Have Any Rights to Visitation

    The answer really depends on how much you want to spend, and how much time you are willing to be in court. PA is one of the more liberal states in allowing grandparents to sue for visitation or custody, even in cases where the parents haven't been deemed unfit (PA Supreme Court still pending several cases which may alter this however). In the vast majority of grandparent visitation cases, it's up to you to prove that such contact is in the child's best interest, and that usually means that there is already a strong existing relationship whose loss would traumatize the child. Having never even MET this child in question, you'd be asking the court to award you rights ONLY by virtue of being biologically related, and thus far even PA hasn't found that ALONE to worthy of awarding visitation against the wishes of the child's parents.

    Your best course of action at this juncture is to speak to a few family law attorneys in the county where the child resides - that's the court who would be hearing the case - and get their perspective on any possible avenues. PA courts are well known for varying WIDELY, even county to county, and getting the opinion of an attorney who actually practices in front of the judges you'll be asking will give you the most realistic outlook on the liklihood of success should you decide that legal action is warranted.

    On the flip side, you need to be aware that for whatever reason the parents aren't letting you see the child NOW, if you should file a suit, and NOT be awarded visitation, you can realistically kiss any FUTURE chance of them willingly letting you see the child goodbye. It's important to distinguish between having the legal standing to pursue the case, versus the probability of meeting the burden of proof to the level the court will want (which is pretty high, considering that you are asking the court to over-rule TWO parents, unless one or both has some SERIOUS issues).
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
    http://www.aardvarc.org

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