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Portion of Grandparent's Rights Act Stricken as Unconstitutional

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court determines that provision allowing grandparents to seek custody/visitation if parents are separated for six months violates due process.

By Attorney Jeffrey B. Engle, Grandparents Rights Lawyer, Harrisburg, PA

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently determined that section 5325(2) (related to standing to seek physical custody or visitation) of a minor child was unconstitutional as to its first part, which reads "where the parents of the child have been separated for a period of at least six months...".  The Court determined that allowing a third party to intrude into a family on the basis of a separation was too intrusive and violated equal protection under the 14th Amendment. This opinion does not strike down the second portion of 5325(2) that reads "or [parents] have commenced and continued a proceeding to dissolve their marriage." However, it draws even this section into serious doubt.  All other provisions of the grandparent's rights act remain in full effect.

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