Can a Grandparent Have Joint Custody with a Parent: 3 Easy Ways

Can a grandparent have joint custody with a parent?” My friend Jonathan asked me. It seems like an unusual question, but yes, a grandparent can have joint custody with a parent. Joint custody can be used when a grandparent or non-parent is involved.

Before diving into the details, let me first explain joint custody. It’s when two people (usually parents) share legal and physical responsibility for a child. The court can grant joint physical custody, which means that each parent can have the child living in their home for a specific amount of time, or joint legal custody, which allows both parents to make decisions about the child’s health and education.

Now let’s answer Jonathan’s question. In this article, I will discuss three easy ways a grandparent can gain joint custody and other details of grandparent rights.

can a grandparent have joint custody with a parent

Can a Grandparent Have Joint Custody with a Parent: 3 Easy Ways

“How can a grandparent get custody of a child?”

For so many reasons, grandparents can file for custody of a grandchild, such as if the parents cannot provide a safe home environment, are derelict in their parental duties, or cannot communicate with each other. However, gaining custody isn’t so easy if grandparents don’t know how to proceed. Here are 3 ways to make the process swift.

#1. Hire an expert lawyer:

First, grandparents must hire an experienced lawyer to help them draft a joint custody agreement between the parent(s) and the grandparent. The attorney can also advise on how best to present their case in court.

Moreover, an attorney can handle all the paperwork, from filing motions to gathering evidence. This can save a lot of time and hassle for both parties involved.

Remember, custody battles between parents and grandparents are difficult, especially when the biological parents are still alive, fit, and can fight for custody rights.

#2. Grandparents need to file a petition for a child arrangements order:

Grandparents can also file a petition for a child arrangements order or a particular guardianship to get joint custody of the child. Typically, they can fill out forms and submit them to the court. The paperwork can be intimidating for those unfamiliar with legal terminology, so having a lawyer is a plus.

Courts always look for the best interest of the child. If grandparents show that joint custody benefits the child, the court prefers letting the child live with grandparents.

Also, grandparents can try to communicate with the parents first and agree on shared parenting if that can be possible without going to court.

#3. Establish a Parenting agreement:

If the court approves, grandparents and parents can come to an agreement on how they will handle joint custody or visitation rights. This may include details such as who has primary physical custody of the child and when each parent will have parenting time.

Such agreements provide details on visitation times and responsibilities shared between parents and grandparents, decisions made on behalf of the child, communication between all parties, and, most importantly, a clear understanding that each party plays an important role in the life of their grandchild.

With such a detailed agreement in place, both the parent and grandparents can manage any conflicts that may arise from time to time in their child’s best interests.

To know more about how can a grandparent get primary custody of their grandchild, watch the below video:

FAQs on Can a Grandparent Have Joint Custody with a Parent

Can grandparents get custody over the father?

In some cases, grandparents can get custody of their grandchildren over their father and mother. This is known as grandparent visitation or custody rights and is often granted when the parents cannot care for the child or if the situation is deemed in the child’s best interest.

Grandparents may file for a petition in court, demonstrate that they have a “significant relationship” with their grandchild(ren), and present evidence that they have regular contact with them or have acted as a primary caregiver.

Additionally, they must show that it would be detrimental to the well-being of the child(ren) if they were not given custodial rights. In some jurisdictions, this can include inadequate financial resources, parental drug abuse, physical or mental illness, incarceration, etc.

The court will then consider all facts before granting grandparent visitation/custody rights over the father. If granted, these rights may include anything from temporary physical custody to making decisions regarding healthcare and education on behalf of the children.

It should also be noted that although grandparents do not legally acquire full parental rights with recognition in most states, one can still gain guardianship if proven necessary by way of court proceedings.

Can a 12-year-old decide to live with grandparents?

Yes, a 12-year-old can decide to live with their grandparents. This arrangement may sometimes be necessary due to family dynamics or financial strain.

Depending on the laws in the state, minor children may be able to voluntarily move in with their grandparents if they are given permission from both of their legal guardians. Some states require that court documentation be filed when minors move out of their parent’s home and into a relative’s care. 

This agreement may also include certain conditions, such as regular visits for the parents or allowing them access to school records and medical information.

Additionally, the grandparents may need to provide evidence that they can support the minor financially and emotionally. If all legal requirements are met and approved by the courts, then it is permissible for a 12-year-old to decide to live with their grandparents. 

Besides practical reasons such as money or family obligations, many young people choose to live with their grandparents because they provide a stable environment where they are loved and cared for deeply. Grandparents often have more patience and understanding than parents juggling full-time jobs and other commitments.

They can provide valuable life lessons that help young people grow into responsible adults who greatly appreciate family values. Living with grandparents can also give children a better connection to their heritage and their ancestors’ stories of courage, resilience, and strength.

How to get temporary custody of grandchildren?

The process for obtaining temporary custody of grandchildren can vary depending on your state’s laws. Generally, filing a petition in family court or another court with jurisdiction over child custody matters is necessary. 

The petition will need to describe why the current custodial arrangement is not working and provide evidence that you are best suited to provide care for the grandchild.

You will need to provide the court with a detailed plan of how you intend to care for and support the grandchild, including information about your financial resources, living arrangements, access to medical and educational resources, and any other relevant information. The court may also require that you complete a criminal background check or interview with a social worker.

After the petition has been filed, you may be required to attend a hearing where both sides can present their arguments and evidence. The court will then decide whether temporary custody is in the grandchild’s best interests. If granted, you will be responsible for providing day-to-day care and ensuring that all of the grandchild’s needs are met.

How hard is it for grandparents to get custody?

Getting custody of grandchildren as a grandparent is by no means an easy feat. The difficulty of gaining custody varies, depending on the laws of your particular state and the circumstances surrounding your situation.

In many cases, courts will favour keeping the child with their parents, so if the parents are deemed unfit to care for the child or children, it can be much harder for grandparents to gain custody. At this time, grandparents should drop a custody case.

Generally, for a grandparent to be awarded custody over a parent in any court system, they must prove that it’s in the child’s best interest to be placed with them rather than their parents. This means they must provide evidence that staying with their own parents would put them at risk of physical harm or emotional distress. 

The legal process can also be daunting and costly for grandparents seeking custody rights since they may need to hire a lawyer and participate in multiple court hearings.

Furthermore, due to financial issues or other constraints, grandparents may have difficulty accessing resources like free legal aid or discounted representation. Additionally, court decisions often favour biological parents even when they are not deemed acceptable guardians because judges see parental rights as fundamentally important in our society. 

In addition to all these legal challenges, grandparents may face social stigma or judgment from family members and friends who don’t understand why the grandparent is seeking custody instead of allowing the child to stay with their own parent, especially if those same family members or friends think that taking legal action against another family member is wrong.

As such, obtaining custody as a grandparent can be a long and challenging journey that requires great patience and persistence – but ultimately, it’s worth it if it means being able to keep your grandchildren safe from harm.

Who has more rights, maternal or paternal grandparents?

When it comes to determining who has more rights between maternal and paternal grandparents, the answer is far from being a clear-cut one. In general, it is thought that maternal grandparents have slightly more rights than paternal grandparents. This is because the mother has a closer biological connection to the child and is typically more involved in the child’s life.

Although both sets of grandparents are often legally afforded certain rights, the specifics may differ based on several conditions, such as state and federal laws or any prior agreements between the parties. Though, some rights are usually granted to both maternal and paternal grandparents.

In most jurisdictions, paternal and maternal grandparents both have a legal right to maintain contact with their grandchildren. This means that both sets of grandparents may be able to spend time with their grandkids in accordance with parenting arrangements established by their children or those granted by court order.

Additionally, both sides may be eligible to receive information about the child’s health, development, schooling, and other pertinent matters. 

There are differences between parental rights in areas like visitation or custody. Maternal grandparents often have an advantage when seeking court-ordered visitation because, in some cases, they may be recognized as having a closer bond with their grandchild than their paternal counterparts simply due to shared genetics.

In terms of full custodial rights (in which a grandparent has been granted legal authority over his or her grandchild) due to parental neglect or abandonment, this is more likely to be awarded to maternal rather than paternal grandparents in many cases given that they often live closer geographically and may have had more consistent contact over time. 

Ultimately though, there is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to who has more rights between maternal and paternal grandparents, and each situation must be judged on its own merits based on all relevant factors, including existing law, the evidence presented before the court or other arbiter of disputes, and the personal relationships involved.

Can a grandparent file for emergency custody in PA?

In Pennsylvania, a grandparent may be eligible to file for emergency custody of their grandchild. Emergency custody is granted when there is an immediate need to protect the safety and welfare of a child. It can be awarded even if the grandparents have no prior legal relationship with the child.

Grandparents seeking emergency custody must prove that the current custodial parent or guardian is unable or unwilling to provide proper care and protection for the child. 

When filing for emergency custody, grandparents must show that their request serves the child’s best interests through evidence such as medical records, police reports, school records, or other documentation demonstrating abuse or neglect.

Courts may also consider testimony from relatives, neighbours, teachers, and social workers who are familiar with the family situation in determining whether an emergency exists.

If a judge believes granting emergency custody would serve the best interest of the child, they may issue temporary orders awarding grandparents with temporary guardianship until more permanent arrangements can be made. 

Grandparents seeking to gain full legal custody should also be aware that in Pennsylvania, they must follow certain procedures when attempting to modify or enforce existing court orders involving children. Grandparents should contact an attorney for assistance in navigating these complicated legal processes.

How can grandparents get custody of grandchildren in California?

In California, grandparents have the right to petition the court to gain custody of their grandchildren. Generally, the best way for them to do this is by filing a Petition for Custody and Visitation. This document will outline why they believe they should be awarded primary care for their grandchild and should include a detailed plan for how the child will be cared for and supported. 

When filing the petition, grandparents must demonstrate that it is in their grandchild’s best interest to remain with them instead of being placed under the care of another family member or a legal guardian appointed by the court.

The court will consider various factors when making its determination, including whether or not there are any other responsible adults available who can adequately care for the child if there is any history of abuse or neglect from either parent, if there has been an established bond between grandparent and grandchild, and whether or not allowing the grandparent’s involvement in their life would create stability and security. 

Grandparents may also obtain temporary custody while awaiting a final decision on full custody rights. They must prove that immediate action is necessary to protect their grandchild from endangerment or other harm.

Remember that all forms must be accurately filled out before filing; if any information is inaccurate or incomplete, it could result in a delay in proceedings which could ultimately affect the outcome of the case. 

Also, while grandparents may have some legal rights when it comes to obtaining custody of their grandchildren in California, those rights are ultimately limited due to certain laws prioritizing parental rights over those of grandparents.

Ultimately, it is up to each judge presiding over each case to decide what is best for all parties involved, including parents and grandparents.


It can be difficult for a grandparent to gain joint custody of the child, but it can be done. Grandparents can hire an experienced attorney to draft a joint custody agreement, file a petition for guardianship or adoption rights, and prove that the child’s best interest comes first. With the above-discussed three easy steps, grandparents can have joint custody with a parent.

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