In addition to the recent statutory changes regarding the class of individuals who have standing to seek physical and legal custody of a child, Senate Bill 844 has also redefined the circumstances under which grandparents have standing to seek partial physical custody or supervised physical custody of their grandchildren. This amendment to the statute is the legislature’s attempt to address the finding by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in D.P. v. G.J.P., 146 A.3d 204 (Pa. 2016), which determined the prior version of section (2) of the statute was unconstitutional.
Currently, 23 Pa.C.S.A. §5325 provides standing for a grandparent to seek partial physical custody or supervised physical custody where the child’s parent is deceased or when the child has, for a period of at least twelve consecutive months, resided with the grandparent or great-grandparents, and the grandparents or great-grandparents file an action for partial physical custody within six months of the child’s removal from the home. The amendment to this statute now provides that grandparents or great grandparents may also seek partial physical custody or supervised physical custody where the relationship with the child began either with the consent of one of the child’s parents or under a court order where the parents of the child have commenced a proceeding for custody and do not agree as to whether the grandparents or great grandparents should have custody.
Although this statute grants standing to grandparents and great-grandparents to seek partial physical custody and supervised physical custody, there are certain determinations a court will also have to make to issue such an order. To discuss the changes and learn more about the custody rights of grandparents and great-grandparents in Pennsylvania, contact us to schedule a consultation.