3 Tips For Grandparents Seeking Custody Of Their Grandchildren

Posted on: 13 June 2016

It's always difficult for a parent to watch their adult child struggle with things like drug addiction, criminal issues, and other serious challenges. However, it can be even more difficult when that adult child is responsible for caring for your grandchild. If you believe your adult child is an unfit or irresponsible parent, you may be tempted to seek legal custody. It is possible for courts to give custodial rights to grandparents, but it's a challenging endeavor. Family laws generally prefer to keep children with biological parents when possible. Here are a few tips to consider as you explore your options:

Carefully consider all possible outcomes. If you take your child to court to seek custody of your grandchild, there is a good chance that you may irreparably damage your relationship with your adult child. Remember, you will have to portray him or her as an unfit parent. Your child may develop a deep amount of resentment and ill will towards you.

Also, consider that if you fail in court, your child could sever your ties and communication with your grandchild. It's possible that in trying to protect your grandchild, you could destroy your relationship with them completely. Be sure to exhaust all options before taking the matter to court.

Offer your child a deal. In many cases, the preferable option is to work out some kind of arrangement with your adult child. If they're struggling with drugs or criminal activities, being a parent likely isn't their first priority. They may be looking for a way out of parenting responsibilities.

Try to have a conversation with your child in a professional, calm setting. A family lawyer may be able to offer their office and act as a sort of referee in the conversation. Tell your child that you want to help. Be sure to emphasize that you not only want to help your grandchild, but you also want your child to have the space and freedom necessary to improve their situation. Stress that you don't want to cut off the grandchild from the parent. You simply want to help both of them be happy and healthy.

You could work out a temporary custody situation to give your child time to recover. Or perhaps you could strike a deal where you get custody, but your child sees the grandchild on weekends or for day trips. A mutually satisfactory deal can help prevent the pain and cost that comes with a legal dispute.

Document everything. If you can't reach a deal and you decide to press on with legal action, documentation will be your new best friend. To gain custody from the biological parents, you will need an overwhelming amount of evidence and testimony that your child and his or her partner are neglectful, unfit, and possibly even abusive. If you notice bruises or cuts on your grandchild, consider taking them to a doctor for examination and documentation. If you believe your child is on drugs or engaging in illegal activity, call the police so they can document the situation.

You will need support from authoritative sources like police, doctors, and child services to win your case. A court usually won't pull a child from a biological parent without strong, compelling evidence.

For more information, contact a family lawyer such as Susan M Caplin. They can help you develop the appropriate plan of action.