Worldwide there are literally millions of kids being raised by their grandparents because of their parents’ inability to care for them. While guardianship is sometimes a temporary situation, there are many instances of grandparents taking full and permanent custody of grandkids.
Making it Forever
Children thrive on consistency and stability, so when parents are unable or unwilling to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their kids, the responsibility often falls to the grandparents.
When a situation demands that long-term or even permanent arrangements be made for a child’s care, grandparents must be meticulous to ensure that they take all of the proper steps, assuring their rights as well as protecting the rights of their grandchild.
The sense of security that the children have from knowing they are in a permanent, stable home can help them to excel socially and academically, so it is important that they not be repeatedly uprooted.
The single most important step that grandparents can take in assuring that they proceed wisely in taking custody of their grandchildren is to seek advice from a lawyer, preferably one who specialises in family law.
The process can be complicated, but a good solicitor can make the procedure far less confusing. Ideally, a lawyer should be hired right from the beginning so as to instruct grandparents on the best course of action.
Even if brought in during the middle of proceedings, though, grandparents should not finalise any custody agreements without legal advice, since going it alone increases the chances that errors will be made.
Seeking Supportive People
Often, when there is a need for grandparents to raise their grandchildren, the kids have been through some sort of trauma. Whether neglect, abuse, parental illness, or some other reason is at the root of the decision to seek custody, it is wise to enlist the help of social workers, neighbours, teachers and school or law enforcement officials who have first hand knowledge of the family’s situation.
Sworn statements that reinforce not only the need for a child’s permanent removal from their parents’ custody but also recommendations that the grandparents are good candidates for guardianship can be helpful, especially if the kids’ parents object to relinquishing custody of the children.
Ideally, parents who are unable to properly care for their children would be cooperative in allowing the grandparents to provide loving homes, but it is common for the generations to battle.
Having the support of other interested parties can help ensure the best outcome for the children in what is sure to be a very difficult situation.
While it may feel disloyal for grandparents to speak publicly against their adult children, they may have no other option when it comes to protecting their vulnerable grandchildren.
Documenting every incident that supports the stance that the children’s parents are unfit will help grandparents to prove their case, if the need should arise.
Keeping track of specific dates and occurrences of inappropriate parental behaviour, along with the effect that it had on the children, can help grandparents to protect their grandchildren and give them a safe, loving and permanent home.