Can I be granted parenting time with my 20-year-old son?

mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

Can I fight for visitation rights to my 20-year-old son who is autistic? His mother won’t allow me to see him, but I know he wants to have a relationship with me.

Is there anything the courts can do to grant parenting time or is he too old for the court to have jurisdiction over him in regards to custody matters?


Unfortunately, whether or not there is or ever was a custody order in place, by virtue of the fact that your son is now 20 years old, a court cannot issue or enforce an order regarding custody of your son.

The law in Pennsylvania is that an adult child cannot be the subject of a custody proceeding.  Even in cases where the adult child is still receiving support from a parent, the mere fact that the individual is a beneficiary of monetary support does not permit the court to make an order regarding custody of the adult child.

Regardless of the fact that a custody order can not be entered, of course your son still has the “right” to make the choice to see you. If he has trouble calling you on the phone, perhaps try to initiate the contact and call him.

If there are no PFA’s (Protection From Abuse Order) in effect, there is nothing to stop you from visiting him at his mother’s house, or perhaps taking him with you during periods of custody with your daughter.

I recommend seeking further legal advice. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys licensed and located in Pennsylvania who can provide a more in-depth analysis of your current situation.


Margaret M. Daly is a Staff Attorney in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Daly is licensed in the state of Pennsylvania. Ms. Daly received her undergraduate degree in English and Psychology and her Juris Doctor from Duquesne University.  While in law school, she worked with Pittsburgh’s Neighborhood Legal Services Association, assisting low income clients in a variety of Family Law Issues.

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