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Things grandparents should know about child custody

When families are torn apart, it is often the children who suffer the most. Recently, child custody has become a hot topic, as more and more studies have shown the disastrous psychological and emotional effects a divorce or separation can have on children. These days, it is not uncommon for grandparents to take over as primary caretakers. However, there are a few legal processes that grandparents in Arizona and other states may want to follow to provide the best possible care for children.

A grandparent power of attorney can allow grandparents to legally provide things such medical treatment or academic enrollment. Although this type of power of attorney can quickly be put in place, the parent must give consent. A caretaker authorization is similar to a power of attorney and is typically recommended when a parent has left the children, as parental consent is not needed. A caretaker authorization would also give grandparents authorization to interact with schools or seek medical treatment.

If children are removed from a home by Child Services, a kinship placement is a typical arrangement. In a kinship placement, grandparents could have physical custody but Child Services would retain legal custody. If grandparents want file for custody, they would have to show that they are suitable caretakers and that is is in the best interest of the child. If grandparents want permanent custody as well as full legal rights, they would need to file for adoption.

According to recent statistics, over 2 1/2 million grandparents across the country are raising their grandchildren. Those in Arizona who have questions regarding the laws surrounding child custody may want to consult a knowledgeable attorney. An experienced family law lawyer can provide guidance while protecting individual rights.

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