1 in 10 children in the US resides with a grandparent. 1/3rd of these households don’t have parents present at all, so the grandparents are bringing up their grandchildren on their own. These households are occasionally known as skip-generation families. In the majority of these families, nevertheless, the grandparents don’t have guardianship or legal custody of their grandchildren. And this makes for a bad situation.
Guardianship is legal terminology in reference to the relations among a minor child and an individual other than a parent that is responsible for that child. It can detail the relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents that parent them, despite the fact its use isn’t restricted just to grandparents. Guardianships are the type of grandparent custody that provides the grandparents the most rights without actually adopting the grandchildren.
Guardianships might have a bit different meaning in accordance with the state you live in, so make sure to verify all information within local laws. In many states, guardianship is called conservatorship.
All in all, child guardians are enabled with legal custody and the right to decision making about the children under their responsibility. When parents want to reclaim custody, they need to attend court.
Why You Need to Think About Guardianship
When grandparents are finding themselves raising their grandchildren, there are some great reasons why they should pursue guardianship, mainly for the prevention of the children from being promptly taken back by their parents. Even though courts give parents special attention in custody cases, when the grandparents don’t have legal guardianship, the parents might be able to get back their children without having to go through the court system.
Even when the grandparents do have guardianship, nevertheless, the parents’ rights are not typically terminated. They could still have the right to visitation with their children, and they are commonly responsible for paying support to the individual that taking care of their children. Obviously, a lot of the situations leading to grandparents coming to be guardians of their grandchildren also means that support is doubtful to be paid. For instance, guardianship is a somewhat common result when parents are imprisoned or if parents have substance abuse issues.
The Guardians Rights
Guardians possess the right in making decisions concerning the children in their care. Guardians are allowed decision making rights in the areas of schooling and medical care, including mental and psychiatric care.
In many states, guardians have added rights, including the right to designate substitute guardians for the children that are in their care.
Many states provide an option known as subsidized guardianships, whereupon grandparents or other individuals can be awarded guardianship of children and can get benefits comparable to those that foster parents get. Subsidized guardianship keeps children out of overloaded foster care systems and saves grandparents from coming to pass as foster parents. In some circumstances, grandparents could choose to become foster parents, but in other circumstances, they may face challenges being approved by the system.
Child guardians could be legally responsible for the actions of the children that are in their care. This could range from paying for a broken TV to much more severe actions.
The financial strain of guardianship usually goes outside of what is provided by the parents and/or any government bodies, so it isn’t an arrangement to be entered into unadvisedly.
Why Make It Legal?
Grandparents that are raising grandchildren lacking the advantage of any formal relationship are looking for trouble. Lacking a legal form of grandparents custody, the parent(s) can pounce in and take their children away from the grandparents that have been taking care of them. Worse still, the parent(s) can completely sever contact between the grandparents and the grandchildren.
Regrettably, even grandparents that have some type of legal custody could still have their grandchildren taken away from them. Grandparents that have gone to the difficulty of making their relationships with their grandchildren legal do, nevertheless, have a stronger standing in the law’s eyes.
Some grandparents bring up grandchildren become their legal foster parents. Taking this step allows them accessibility to a wider range of resources than what is available to those in unofficial arrangements. They can get payments for fostering and could qualify for some legal aid.
Reasons Why Grandchildren Are Left in Grandparents Custody
Children are typically left in their grandparents’ care since the parent(s) can’t care for them on their own. Poverty is the most general inherent issue, but there also might be co-occurring factors like mental health issues, abuse, and drug and/or alcohol abuse. Subject to the situation, parents might leave their children with their grandparents for prolonged periods of time.
Reasoning Why Parents Cut Off Their Children’s Grandparents
If parents get back their children, they have multiple reasons for wanting to keep their children away from their grandparents:
- They might be jealous of the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren.
- They might feel that their parenting abilities are consistently being compared with the skills of the grandparents.
- They might remember whenever that they see the grandparents of the oversights that resulting in them giving up their children to begin with.
To many parents, these could feel like justifiable reasoning for cutting off grandparents.
Reasons for Grandparent Unwillingness
Grandparents many times resist at legalizing their relationship with their grandchildren since they dread the backlash of the children’s parents. Grandparents might worry about causing a lasting rift among themselves and their adult child, it doesn’t matter how maladjusted that child may be being a parent. The other challenges that grandparents confront are having to do with the legal system. A lot of grandparents shortage of both a level of comfort with the legal system and the resources necessary to get legal counsel.
When grandparents are handling the new and engrossing task of caring for their grandchildren, it’s really easy to allow legal matters go by the wayside. They should not. On the other hand, they should inspire themselves by think about the possibility of being cut off totally from their grandchildren.
Several agencies are dedicated to assisting grandparents raising grandchildren, and free legal counsel is generally available from Legal Aid or likewise agencies. Grandparents might be capable of filing some of the paperwork on their own, which can cut down on legal expenses significantly. Occasionally grandparents may even represent themselves in court.
Almost across the board, grandparents want what is best for their grandchildren. In many cases that means being with their grandparents. In these cases, it’s wise to make grandparent custody legal.
- Adcox, S. (2020, July 11). How to Make Custody Official for Protecting Grandchildren. Retrieved January 06, 2021, from https://www.verywellfamily.com/why-grandparents-should-seek-legal-custody-or-guardianship-1695497
Arizona Family Law
Naming guardians in your will can be part of your estate plan. You may think you’re too young or don’t have enough money to justify the expense, but if you have children, you have priceless assets. There are many considerations when naming guardians for your kids. However, the process doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.