When a married couple separates and divorces or a couple who has children without benefit of marriage separates, which parent gets majority custody of the children often becomes a heated issue in family law. Unfortunately, increasingly we are seeing in society where neither the mother nor the father ends up with majority custody of the children because both are not able or not willing to raise the children.
When this happens, grandparents often end up raising grandchildren. A very common example of what we see at Trinity Law is a couple who breaks up and the father of the children ends up in jail and the mother of the children ends up on drugs and neither of them can take care of the children and someone’s parents, as the grandparents of the children, end up rearing the children.
Sometimes this is only for a period of a few months and sometimes it is until all the children have become emancipated at age 18.
Addressing Legal Issues
What the grandparents need to understand is that even if neither of the parents have a problem with the grandparents raising the grandchildren and even if the parents have both asked the grandparents to raise the grandchildren, there are still legal issues that need to be addressed in Custody Court or at the very least by a Custody Order by stipulation.
Those legal issues include getting the children enrolled in school, getting the children enrolled on health insurance, getting the children passports, getting financial support for the children, getting other support for the children such as school lunches, food stamps, SSI, and so forth.
If one of the children is a special needs child, then the legal issues often become even more complex to include medical and counseling and psychological services.
Even more tragically, sometimes grandparents end up raising grandchildren with one or both of the parents protesting and not at all being in agreement with that situation. This often results in the grandparents having to actually go into court and fight for the legal and physical custody of their grandchildren.
These kinds of custody fights are very complex and can be very expensive and need the compassion and expert assistance of a very experiences family law attorney who has done a lot of child custody litigation.
At Trinity Law, we can offer compassionate and professional advice and, if necessary, litigation support for grandparents, whether all they need is a Stipulated Court Order or they need a very intense Custody Trial. Our child custody lawyers are ready to help you navigate these trying situations. Contact us at 717-843-8046 for more information.