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Are you considering guardianship of your grandkids?

When you hear your friends talking about their plans for retirement, you may laugh inside. Whatever dreams you may have had for your years after your children were grown, out of the house and raising their own children have gone by the wayside. Like a growing percentage of grandparents, you are raising your grandchildren.

This is not like some grandparents whose grandchildren spend a weekend or even a summer visiting before returning to their own homes, schools and schedules. You are the primary caretaker of your grandchildren, probably for their own protection or well-being. However, if you do not have legal guardianship, you may not have the authority to provide all the protection the children may need.

The benefits of guardianship

The circumstances that brought the children to your home may be unique to you. However, many grandparents are raising their grandchildren because of the serious opioid problem that is destroying families in California and across the country. Your son or daughter may be incarcerated or unable to care for the children because of drugs, alcohol, illness or other problems. You may be feeding, clothing and caring for your grandchildren, but without legal guardianship, you may face the following issues:

  • The parents may return and take the children, even if they have not fully recovered from their substance abuse, and may deny you access to the children against which you will have no legal recourse.
  • You may not be able to seek medical, psychiatric or psychological care for the children without permission from the parents or a court order.
  • You may have limited authority in guiding the education of your grandchildren, such as choosing a private school, homeschooling or seeking special education services.
  • If you should become ill, need surgery or become unable to care for the children, it will not be within your rights to choose an alternate guardian to take over the care of the children.

Deciding to seek legal guardianship for your grandchildren can be a delicate and challenging step. In some situations, you may be placing your relationship with your child at risk. It also means taking on a complex legal process while you may still be adjusting to your new role as caretaker of your grandchildren. The first move in such as situation should always be to seek more information about your options, rights and expectations. A compassionate attorney can provide you with advice and guidance during this difficult time.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
6877 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Phone: 951-335-0510
Fax: 951-686-8195
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