In an ideal world, all children would be raised in a loving, supportive, and stable family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes, Kansas parents and parents across America find themselves unable or unwilling to properly care for their children. This may be due to mental or physical disability, drug addiction, incarceration, poverty, or a number of other factors. When a parent fails to care for their child, grandparents often step in to fill that void.
When grandparents take over the care of their grandchild, it is important that they take steps to establish legal rights over the grandchild. Armed with legal authority, the grandparent can ensure the grandchild is well protected, particularly when it comes to medical care, education, and emergency situations.
Grandparents seeking legal authority over their grandchildren should consult with a family law attorney as soon as possible. This is a complex area of the law and it is important the matter be handled right the first time around.
You have several different options available to you as a grandparent seeking legal authority over your grandchild, including:
Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is often the best choice for grandparents seeking merely temporary custody of their grandchild with the consent of the child’s parents. Common situations include a parent leaving on military deployment, an extended business trip, or being hospitalized.
Power of attorney is established through a legal document that grants the grandparent certain powers with respect to the child. The document must be notarized and copies provided to relevant parties, such as the child’s school and doctor.
Guardianship, otherwise commonly referred to as custody, is a more long term solution. This is often used when the parent has severe mental health issues, serious drug addiction, is incarcerated, or has decided he or she is unable to care for the child.
It will be easiest to establish guardianship if you have the parent’s consent. However, grandparents can still be awarded guardianship without consent when one or both parents cannot be located. Grandparents can also be named guardians as a part of Child in Need of Care (CINC) case.
Guardianship does not necessarily terminate parental rights. When the situation that gave rise to the guardianship has ceased, the guardianship can be terminated by the court and the grandparent will no longer have any authority over the child.
If the grandparent does not anticipate the parent resuming care of the child, they may wish to consider adoption. Adoption will allow the grandparent some additional rights, such as adding the grandchild as a dependent on their insurance and allowing the grandchild to inherit from their estate automatically in the event of their death.
Adoption is the most extreme measure and will require the court formally terminate the rights of the parents. It will also relieve the parents of any financial obligations with regards to the child.
McDowell Chartered: Experienced Kansas Family Law Attorneys Assisting Grandparents in Protecting Their Grandchildren
As grandparents, you want your children to receive the best life has to offer. Sadly, sometimes unfortunate situations leave grandchildren in dangerous or abusive circumstances. If you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchild, Kansas Family Law Attorneys at McDowell Chartered may be able to help. We want your grandchildren to be raised in a loving and caring environment. While ideally this is with their parents, tragic circumstances sometimes require otherwise. Grandparent custody cases are complex but our experienced attorneys offer the exemplary legal services you need to obtain the results you desire. For legal services of unmatched excellence, call McDowell Chartered today at (316) 633-4322 for an initial consultation.