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Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Grandparents Cannot Get Partial Custody

Parents experiencing marital difficulties can choose from an infinite number of possibilities. Sometimes parents decide to separate but not to divorce.

In these situations, Pennsylvania law has allowed grandparents to ask for partial custody of the children. However, the commonwealth's Supreme Court recently ruled that this law was unconstitutional.

According to a newspaper report, the high court decided that the law improperly assumed that those separated-but-not-divorced parents were unfit to have custody of their children.

The case before the Supreme Court involved parents who separated and had come to a custody agreement on their own. As part of their arrangement, the children's paternal grandparents could not see the children. The paternal grandparents then filed for partial custody.

The law, as it then existed, allowed grandparents to ask for partial custody after the parents had been separated for at least six months. It is not clear at this point if Pennsylvania legislators will attempt to rewrite the law.

No matter what lawmakers decide, parents who face divorce have a number of important custody of their own to make. In many cases, there are disagreements over both physical custody and legal custody.

The parent who has legal custody makes decisions regarding the child's education, extracurricular activities, friends, religion and health care. Physical custody refers to the right to spend time with the child and have the child in your care.

Because these custody matters are crucial, differences can be deep and difficult to resolve without the help of a skilled family law attorney. If parents cannot come to a custody agreement, a court will determine what is best for the child and make determinations about legal and physical custody.

Contact Previtera & Schimmel to discuss your situation and learn more about your legal options.

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