It is nothing new for children to live with their grandparents. However, with the rise of drug dependency in California and across the country, more and more retirees seem to be seeking guardianships for their grandchildren. Some child advocates believe that children are better adjusted if they are raised with family members, but the strain on the grandparent can be enormous.
One couple in another state built a beautiful home for their retirement. Because their son and his girlfriend were addicts, the grandparents had cared for their infant granddaughter most weekends. On Christmas Eve eight years ago, the child's parents abruptly announced they were leaving the state with the little girl. For the protection of the child, the grandparents agreed to take her in, eventually seeking legal guardianship over her.
While the child's father now pays a small amount of child support, often grandparents struggle financially when raising a child. They may also deal with other issues such as having to move from retirement communities that do not allow children. If the parents remain in contact with the child, visitation could be a source of contention and emotional stress.
Grandparents who do not have court approved guardianships may find roadblocks when it comes to making legal decisions such as those concerning the education or health of the children. Those in California who are considering stepping in to care for their grandchildren may consider speaking with an attorney who can answer their questions and guide them through the legal process. An experienced lawyer may also be able to recommend valuable resources and support for those who are the primary caretakers of their grandchildren.
Source: bangordailynews.com, "When young families fail, grandparents step forward", Meg Haskell, June 29, 2016