If you are like most adults, you probably do not expect to raise more children after your own grow up. While it is rarely the expectation, it is not uncommon. Today, a significant number of grandparents are raising their grandchildren. Due to many factors such as the dramatic increase in opioid abuse, this number is growing.
Understandably, grandparents who are raising their grandchildren sometimes want to seek child custody. If you are a grandparent in this situation, you should know what kind of legal process you will face. Although you might think the law naturally gives grandparents some kind of leverage in child custody cases, it may surprise you. Here are four things to consider before diving into a custody battle.
- Grandparents have no special recognition by law
Legally speaking, the law looks a grandparent no differently than any other third-party individual. Laws grant parents a lot of legal authority when it comes to their children. In practice, there is an underlying assumption that keeping parents involved is in the best interest of the child.
- The most common way grandparents get custody is through parent approval
This is usually an informal and temporary agreement between adult children and their parents. There are ways for grandparents to have some legal authority in these scenarios. For example, a grandparent can have power of attorney or guardianship. These approaches grant grandparents authority in situations such as medical emergencies when parents are not around, but parents still retain primary custody.
- Understanding hurdles can help you prepare
It is difficult to get full custody of grandchildren, but it may not be impossible. You could stand a chance, depending on your circumstances. Grandparents who can prove they have provided long-term care for the child might having standing.
- How you treat your children matters
Despite any tension between you and your adult child, it is important to remain civil. The court will look at your family relationships. If the judge suspects you are bitter or vindictive, it will not serve you well.