Many families across Pennsylvania welcome the addition of a newborn baby. The lives of parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members are forever changed by the bundle of joy. At the time of most births, there are not usually the dark thoughts of a looming future custody dispute. Unfortunately, some of the members of one family have gone through years of anguish and are waiting to hear the decision of the court as to the resolution of a custody dispute surrounding a nine-year-old girl.
When parents are unable, or in some cases unwilling, to take care of their children, many grandparents step into the role of caregiver. Some of these people who have agreed to take on their grandchildren may not always be physically or financially able, yet they step up anyway and petition for legal custody to keep their young loved ones together as a family and out of the foster system. Pennsylvania grandparents may be interested in learning of a couple who is fighting a legal custody battle with the state in which they and their grandchildren live.
Many non-traditional families in Pennsylvania today are going by a new name: grandfamilies. Grandfamilies are those where the grandchildren live with grandparents when the parents are not around. Many times the grandchildren who live with grandparents live in substandard housing because the grandparents are not financially stable enough to provide any other environment. One group is working to help those in that situation.
Not only in Pennsylvania but all over the country, the number of grandchildren who live with their grandparents is growing every year. AARP statistics state that more than 2.5 million grandparents are undertaking the duty of bringing up their grandchildren. Any number of reasons may arise for parents needing their children to live with grandparents. A recent report gave an account of a woman in another state who began caring for her granddaughter just after she was born.
Grandparents who are choosing to pursue legal custody of their grandchildren have been topics of increasing significance in the past few years. Pennsylvania residents may be interested in a study conducted a few years ago that showed the number of children living with a grandparent was up by 3 percent compared to 20 years before. As further proof of the increasing percentage, one grandmother in another state is looking to gain legal custody of four of her grandchildren.
When the relationship between two Pennsylvania parents dissolves, legal custody of the children is an issue that must be faced. Most often the arrangement is between the parents, but sometimes other family members are granted legal custody by the court. A recent case saw the court granting temporary legal guardianship of two children to their grandparents.
A current grandparents' rights case may be of interest to Pennsylvania grandparents who are fighting for custody of grandchildren. The grandmother, from another state, is wanted by police for custodial interference and has fled with her two grandsons to a tribal reservation, the tribe of which the boys are members. Her quest for grandparents' rights has her caught between the ruling of the state court and that of the tribal court.