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What can grandparents do if their petition for visitation has been denied by a judge?

Portage, PA |

Judge has denied the grandparents' petition for custody and/or visitation and has stated that is would not be in the childrens best interest for them to have visitation. What other options, if any, do the grandparents then have legally? Can they keep appealing the decisions? When does it become official that they cannot do anything about the decision of being denied?

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Attorney answers 2


Grandparents can appeal the trial court decision to the Superior Court. However, findings of fact are generally not disturbed on appeal unless there was no basis for the finding. Only questions of law can be reviewed on appeal. It is very difficult to overturn custody decisions on appeal. Few cases are accepted for review by the PA Supreme Court so most of the time the end comes with a Superior Court appeal.

The suggestions made are intended to inform and not advise and are based upon general statements of PA laws and specific events or facts may alter the law. You should contact an experienced PA family law attorney for specific legal advice regarding your issue.


A grandparent has two options: they can appeal to the Superior Court, within 30 days of the decision, or they can refile at a future time. To give an opinion about the chances of success would be pure speculation, without knowing a lot more about the facts of the case, and what happened at the hearing. You should consult with the attorney who represented you at the hearing.

That said, I can make a few general observations.

1. You should understand that although grandparents have rights to visitation in Pa., they are not as strong as the rights of parents.

2. Appeals Courts often defer to the trial court, although they do have broad authority to review custody decisions.

3. If you do not appeal, you can still try again later. Whether you would succeed depends on the reasons visitation was denied previously, and what the present circumstances of the parties are. The decision is supposed to be based on the best interests of the child at the time the decision is made, and many things can change over time.

This is not intended to provide legal advice about your situation - just a few casual remarks about a legal question.

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