Moving Out of State With a Child Custody Agreement

3 Tips For Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

by Layla Bryant

According to AARP, approximately 2.5 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren. Taking on the responsibility for young children can be particularly challenging for both you and the children. If you are planning to raise your grandchildren, here are some tips to ensure you have all the bases covered. 

Obtain Legal Guardianship

Even though your grandchildren's parents might be out of the picture only temporarily, you need to be able to make decisions for your grandchildren's health, education, and other matters. In most states, you cannot make these decisions without having the legal right to do so. 

If your grandchildren's parents are willing, you can file for legal guardianship of the children. However, if the parents are unwilling, you might have to file a petition with the court establishing why you should have temporary custody of the children. You will need to prove that the parents are incapable of caring for the children. 

In the event the parents are unwilling to make the changes to regain custody of their children, you can file for permanent legal custody. If you have temporary custody, the order can help lay the groundwork for the permanent order. Your family attorney can help decide what actions you need to take.

Research Public Assistance

You might not feel as if you need financial support to help take care of the children, but it is possible that you could. Grandchildren can add a financial strain to your finances and if you are not prepared, you could quickly find yourself in a financial bind. 

There are many public assistance programs available to help you with the new expenses. For instance, Medicaid can provide your grandchildren with medical coverage. If you need a larger home to raise the children, you can apply for a housing voucher through Housing and Urban Development. 

Ask for Emotional and Physical Help

Raising your grandchildren can be emotionally and physically draining. As a result, your health can suffer. Although you might want to shoulder the responsibility alone, you have to remember that if you become ill, the children might not have anyone to care for them. 

It is because of this, you need to take steps to safeguard your own emotional and physical health. Join a support group for grandparents raising grandchildren to talk with others who share the same experience. If there is no group in your area, start one. 

You should also ask other family members to help with raising the children. Even an aunt or uncle taking the kids for one weekend a month would be a tremendous help. Contact a law firm, such as the The Law Office Of James R. Kennedy Jr., for more information.