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In what is becoming one of the hottest topics in Pennsylvania Child Custody Law, in loco parentis took center stage before the Superior Court in the recent case of MJS v. BB v. BB, ___ A.3d ___, 2017 Pa. Super 327 (Oct. 17). This case is one of three cases to address in loco parentis status by a litigant in a child custody case recently. The recent case of KW v. SL and ML v. GG, addressed in loco parentis status and parties with whom a child was placed for adoption. A week prior to the present case being decided, the superior court also addressed in loco parentis status in the case of CG v. JH, which pertained to a same sex couple. Both cases were reported on by this author in April 2017 and December 2017, respectively.

The case of MJS pertains to a grandmother who intervened in a child custody case, was found to have in loco parentis status, and granted primary physical custody of the child in question. The facts of the MJS case, according to the opinion, in part, are as follows: LMS was born in 2010 to BMB (the mother) and MJS (the father). During the first five years of LMS’ life, “he lived with the mother at grandmother’s home …” The father, who lives approximately one hour away from the grandmother, exercised partial physical custody of the child on alternating weekends pursuant to an informal custody arrangement.

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