The opportunity to become a grandparent is one of the most thrilling and fulfilling times in a person's life. The desire of every grandparent is to see their grandchildren grow and develop within their own home with their parents and siblings. Sadly, that is not the case in many situations, and the grandparents find it necessary to obtain custody of grandchildren.
Reasons for seeking custody
There are several reasons that grandparents have for seeking custody of their grandchildren. Sometimes parents simply decide that they can't or that they don't want to continue caring for their children and willingly revoke their parental rights. At times, the parents simply abandon their children, leaving them with the grandparents, and have no further contact with them.
A safe living environment is paramount to a child's emotional stability. The child may be suffering from abuse, neglect or physical harm. If the parents are not providing the right type of home environment, then it is up to the grandparents to fight for the custody of the children and have them legally removed from the home.
Occasionally, the parent or parents will be killed or badly injured in an accident. They may not be able to physically care for their children. In a case like this, the grandparents may want to file for custody to keep them in the family and out of foster care.
Types of custody
Informal, physical custody is often the most common type of custody that grandparents have. The parents and grandparents are in agreement that the children should stay with them, and they simply take the grandchildren into their home and care for them. The grandparents can be given a power of attorney by the parents to act as the children's guardians. Without a power of attorney, the grandparents have no legal authority to make decisions concerning the children. The parents can take the children back whenever they want to.
Temporary custody is a legal type of custody granted by a judge. Custody is usually granted for a specific length of time, and the judge determines what decisions can be legally made for the child by the grandparents. The parents cannot terminate this type of custody without a review of the case by the judge. This works well when both parties are in agreement, and the grandparents are not trying to prove that the parents are unfit.
Guardianship grants the grandparents legal custody of the grandchildren and possibly their belongings. The grandparents have complete authority over them. This form of custody is permanent and provides security for both the children and the grandparents.
Adoption is another form of permanent custody. The parents' rights are terminated, and the grandparents become the legal parents. The children would never return to live with the parents.
How to obtain custody of grandchildren
The easiest way to obtain custody of your grandchildren is for their parents to give them to you along with a power of attorney. In many cases, social services become involved, and they present a petition to the court for you to be given custody. The most costly way to get permanent custody of your grandchildren is to hire a lawyer and let him do the work for you.