My ex joined the military over a year ago and left my son with her mother. I have supervised visits but would like to have primary custody since my ex is not in the picture as much. Can she just transfer her parental rights like that?
Please be advised that I am barred in Pennsylvania and will answer your question based on my experience in Pennsylvania.
In this state, in determining custody, the court performs a best interests of the children analysis. This means that the court considers, among other factors, the availability of each parent, the ability of the parents to co-parent, past or present drug or alcohol abuse, history of physical abuse, the mental health of the parties, preference of the children if of sufficient maturity, etc.
The preference of the children is, in this state, given weight if the children are of sufficient maturity and intelligence to voice their preference; in practice, in general, the preference of children age 12 or older will be heard by the court. However, the preference of a child is only one of the factors the court considers in the best interests analysis; it is not determinative.
In this state, the custodial rights of parents take precedence over the custodial rights of grandparents. Here, a party cannot delegate their custodial rights to another family member. The court will consider the same in a modification of custody matter under the factor of availability of a parent to perform parental duties.
You should schedule an initial consultation with an attorney barred in your state at the earliest opportunity to discuss the facts of your case and your options for relief in your state.