Establishing Parental Rights And Obligations

Grandparents Seeking Custody And Visitation Privileges

In Pennsylvania, grandparents are able to petition for custody and visitation rights. However, their eligibility is limited to a narrow range of circumstances. In custody matters, the grandparent must be able to demonstrate one of the following:

  • The child is dependent
  • The child's well-being is at risk as a result of parental abuse, neglect or incapacity
  • The child has already lived with the grandparent(s) for a minimum of 12 consecutive months

Partial custody and visitation privileges are somewhat easier to obtain. Namely, grandparents can win such privileges if one of the child's parents has died, if the child's parents are divorced, or if the child's parents have been separated for more than six months.

A successful petition hinges on the grandparents' ability to demonstrate that custody or visitation is in the child's best interests. Establishing this is not always straightforward or easy. The lawyers at Vinsko & Associates, P.C., can help. For more than 10 years, we have offered experienced guidance in these matters to residents in Wilkes-Barre and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. We have an intimate understanding of how the family courts work, and are skilled at asserting our clients' interests.

Determining Paternity

Paternity refers to the legal aspects of fatherhood. It concerns a father's rights and obligations to his children — his custody privileges, for example, or his child support responsibilities.

If parents are unmarried at the time of a child's birth, then steps must be taken to establish paternity. When there is no dispute as to the father's identity, then the father needs only to sign a "Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity" to obtain his rights.

When there is a dispute regarding the father's identity, however, matters become complicated. The courts will be involved, and there are severe penalties for ignoring their orders. In most cases, a DNA test will be administered. Yet such proceedings are crucial to ensuring the child receives the support necessary to its proper development and growth.

Our attorneys offer skilled representation to individuals in paternity disputes. We know how to enforce court orders and compel individuals to submit to paternity testing; likewise, we understand that DNA examinations are not infallible, and are adept at challenging their results when appropriate.

Call Us For Legal Support

To speak with one of our lawyers, reach out to our office. You can call us at 570-550-0815. You can also arrange an appointment online. We work closely with our clients, and strive to help them reach their legal goals.