How Can I Get Custody of My Grandchild?
The United States is made up of family situations of all different types. Some are led by single mothers or fathers, while other families include same-sex parents. Families can include step-siblings, half siblings, multiple sets of parents, and adopted children. In addition, more and more children are being raised by grandparents. If you are a grandparent who wishes to obtain custody of your grandchildren, there are a few different ways you can go about this.
Biological Parents May Voluntarily Relinquish Their Rights
The method a grandparent must take in order to get custody of their grandchild is largely determined by the biological parents of the child. In some cases, biological parents agree to the grandparent being the primary guardian of the child. If both parents voluntarily relinquish their parental rights, the grandparent has the opportunity to adopt the child. There are many reasons that biological parents may relinquish their parental rights. Sometimes a couple knows that they are too young or otherwise ill-equipped to raise a child. Other times, issues like substance abuse or mental health prevent a parent from being able to properly care for their child.
Parents Accused of Abuse and Neglect
Sometimes, a grandparent wishes to obtain custody of their grandchild because there has been an accusation of neglect or abuse against the parent or parents. A court’s first responsibility when it comes to child custody matters is to do what is in the best interest of the child in question. A judge will never knowingly place a child in a home which is unsafe for him or her. If you know the parents of your grandchild are being psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to the child, you should first contact the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The agency can help you immediately get the child into a safer environment and make long term plans for the child’s residence.
There are a few different ways DCFS can help grandparents obtain custody of their grandchildren including a “Private Subsidized Guardianship” which can give total and permanent guardianship of a child to his or her grandparents. In less extreme cases of neglect and abuse, grandparents may be given limited or temporary guardianship of grandparents.
For help with these issues, and more, contact an experienced family lawyer. The knowledgeable Wheaton, Illinois family law attorneys at MKFM Law can help you understand your legal options for obtaining guardianship of a grandchild. To set up a confidential consultation contact us at 630-665-7300 today.