Lancaster Visitation Rights Lawyer

Pennsylvania child custody attorney represents parents and grandparents

Young people depend on the presence of their parents and other adult family members in their lives. Sadly, divorce and other types of family conflicts can keep parents and grandparents away from the children they love. Chan & Associates is a Lancaster family law firm that helps Pennsylvanians establish and enforce their visitation rights. I work to develop fair, detailed parenting plans and also represent grandparents and others whose relationship with a young family member is threatened because they are not allowed to see them.   

Mothers and fathers have equal rights under the law

Pennsylvania law does not favor mothers or fathers in matters relating to custody or visitation. However, there are instances where outdated attitudes show up in a judge’s decision. This is just one reason why it is almost always preferable for parents to create a visitation schedule on their own during a divorce. Mothers and fathers know best about their child’s needs and how a parenting plan should address school breaks, family events, holidays, extracurricular activities and transportation between homes. Both parents will likely have to live with the visitation schedule for several years, so it is best that they are comfortable with it.

Third-party visitation

While most visitation issues involve parents, there are instances where grandparents or other third parties have established a relationship with a young person and wish to obtain the legal right to see them on a regular basis. Some of these matters can be difficult, especially if parents are opposed to their son or daughter spending time with the person petitioning for visitation. Should the dispute go before a judge, a key consideration will be how granting or denying third-party visitation would affect the child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Grandparent custody rights

When a child’s parents are not providing suitable care, grandparents often step in. Courts might grant legal custody to a grandparent if they have assumed responsibility for the youth’s well-being due to parental abuse, neglect, alcoholism, drug abuse or mental illness. Grandparents might also be given custody if their grandchild has lived in their home for 12 months or more. As with other custody matters, the judge decides these cases based on what they believe to be in the youth’s best interests.  

Relocation of a custodial parent

Visitation arrangements can be shattered if a custodial parent intends to relocate to a home that is farther away from where the noncustodial parent resides. For this reason, relocation requests are often contentious and are governed by strict rules. A mother or father intending to move with their child must give their co-parent at least 60 days’ notice and obtain approval from the court for the relocation. If you are on either side of a relocation dispute, I will examine the relevant facts and assess how a judge might decide on the request.

Supervised visitation

Though Pennsylvania law stresses the importance of frequent, meaningful contact between parents and children, there are circumstances where it might not be safe for a noncustodial parent to spend time alone with their son or daughter. In these cases, the court can order that visitation be supervised, ensuring that another adult is present when the parent and child are together. If you are worried that your former partner’s history of domestic violence or substance abuse poses a threat to your child, I can ask the court to require supervised visitation as part of the parenting plan.

Contact a Pennsylvania family lawyer for a consultation about visitation arrangements  

Chan & Associates in Lancaster advises south central Pennsylvania parents on visitation schedules and other family law concerns. To set up a meeting about your situation, please call 717-869-0015 or contact me online.