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Grandparents: What to do when your child cannot parent

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2018 | Family Law |

Seeing any person struggle as a parent is painful. However, when that parent is your own child who is fighting a drug addiction, it can be devastating.

Unfortunately, this is a situation faced by too many American grandparents, due largely to the current opioid crisis. When parents grow addicted, they cannot provide a safe home, and thousands die from overdose. Under these tragic circumstances, grandparents can play a critical role in protecting their grandchildren.

Protecting grandchildren

When it comes to protecting grandchildren, and making sure they have what they need, many Arizona grandparents would not think twice before taking in a grandchild.

That said, it is a huge responsibility. Not only will grandparents need to adjust their own lives, they also need to help a grandchild recover from the trauma he or she may be experiencing as a result of parental drug addiction. There is also a legal aspect to this effort. Without support and care from a grandparent, the child could wind up in foster care.

Asserting a grandparent’s rights

With so much on their shoulders, it is crucial for grandparents to receive the support they need. This includes collecting financial resources that may be available as well as connecting with a community of people who understand their situation.

It also means empowering a grandparent to pursue the legal rights to make decisions for a child, whether this involves adoption or seeking custody. Grandparents can petition the courts for the privilege of caring for a child, making it possible to make medical decisions, travel, or safely live together. But the process for asserting those rights is more complicated than you might think, and imposes several barriers designed to prioritize the rights of biological parents … even when they are disabled or unfit. So you would certainly benefit from the assistance of an attorney before plunging into those difficulties.

When a parent passes away, abandons their child, or cannot provide a safe environment, grandparents can be a lifeline. If you plan your intervention with care and sensitivity, you can make a difference.