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3 Things You Need To Know About Getting Custody Of Your Grandchild

The number of children being raised by their grandparents is on the rise, with statistics showing a 64% increase over the last two decades. When parents aren't capable of providing for their children, a grandparent can step in to fill the void.

If you are thinking of petitioning the court for custody of your own grandchildren, here are three things you will need to know in order to mount a successful case.   

1. You must be able to prove that your child's parental rights should be revoked in order to obtain custody of your grandchild.

Parental rights are strong when it comes to the eyes of the law, so you must have strong evidence proving that your own child is unable to provide a safe environment for your grandchild. Abuse and neglect are two reasons recognized as grounds for termination of parental rights by the legal system.

Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual in nature, and neglect simply means that your grandchild is not having his or her basic needs met in the home. Documenting signs of abuse or neglect like behavior changes, changes in sleeping patterns, or changes in school performance can go a long way in helping you get custody of your grandchild in the future.

2. There are many different types of custody.

Sometimes grandparents find themselves in a situation where their child has voluntarily abandoned their duties as a parent. In these situations, it's important for you to understand the types of custody available, and the legal rights associated with them. 

If your grandchild is living with you, then you have physical custody. You should seek to obtain a power of attorney so that you can legally make medical and educational decisions on behalf of your grandchild. If your grandchild is only staying with you on a temporary basis until his or her parents are able to assume parenting duties once again, you will most likely have kinship care custody. This type of custody is similar to foster parenting, but you won't have as much oversight from the state.

3. You will need a court order to make your custody arrangement legal. 

A family law attorney (such as one from Karp Law Offices) with experience handling non-parental custody cases can help you acquire a court order stating that you are the legal guardian of your grandchildren. The law only recognizes your custody rights if you have a valid court order, so it's essential that you seek legal help as soon as you know you want to retain custody of your grandchild. 

Court orders can be revoked or altered, but a court order gives you the legal standing you need to ensure your grandchild can legally remain in your care.

Taking custody of a grandchild can be intimidating. Remembering to gather evidence documenting any suspected abuse or neglect, becoming familiar with the types of custody arrangements available to you, and ensuring that you get a court order will make it easier to gain custody of your grandchild in the future.