Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Limits Grandparents Standing in Custody Cases
In the recent custody case of DP and BP v GJP and AP the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania severely limited grandparents’ standing in custody cases. Section 5325(2) of the Domestic Relations Code allows a grandparent to seek partial physical custody of their grandchildren when the children’s parents are separated for a period of six months or more. The Supreme Court ruled this Section of the Statute unconstitutional because the provision “improperly presumed the parents’ lack of fitness due solely to their separation.” The Supreme Court went on to state, “Excluding special circumstances, the grandparents do not have the legal right to sue for custody of their grandchildren. Grandparents also cannot intervene in a custody proceeding simply because the parents have been separated for more then six months.” The Supreme Court reasoned parents have a right to make decisions on how to raise their children without intervention of grandparents.
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