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.
The grandparents began petitioning the court for custody three years ago, after their daughter admitted she and her ex-boyfriend would use crack cocaine when they were around the children. They would also make a practice of keeping the children home from school. The boyfriend had custody of the children because the mother believed he was better off financially to care for them. Her parents say she presently does not have much contact with her children.
The Department of Children and Families earlier in the year stated they had no problem with the father having custody of the two children. Soon after, however, he was arrested and it was discovered he was wanted in several counties in the state on multiple offenses. The grandparents will need to appear in court again in three months for a hearing where the temporary order will be extended or the judge will grant permanent full custody either to the father or to the grandparents.
As in any child custody case that comes before the court, the best interests of the child guide the decision made by the judge. For grandparents in Pennsylvania who are looking to gain legal custody of their grandchildren, the laws are very specific and may change often. A qualified professional may be needed by grandparents when seeking temporary or permanent guardianship.
Source: bostonglobe.com, “In reversal by state, grandparents get custody of 2 kids“, Astead W. Herndon, Dec. 14, 2015