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When Grandparents Seek Guardianship

Family relationships can be complicated. Even when parents do their best to properly raise their children, a stable childhood does not mean that their children will grow up to be the best of parents.

Unfortunately, many grandparents are confronted with situations where their grandchildren are not being raised in the safest environment. When a grandchild's safety and wellbeing are at risk, some grandparents yearn to step in do something to help.

Often, removing the child from a neglectful or abusive environment is in the child's best interests. Aside from calling Child Protective Services, is there another option? One option is "guardianship," and many grandparents have petitioned for guardianship when the grandchild was threatened by:

  • Child abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Witnessing spousal abuse
  • Alcohol-dependent parents
  • Parents with a substance abuse problem
  • Drug manufacturing in the home
  • A parent with a serious mental illness

Petitioning for Guardianship

When a grandparent is reasonably concerned for their grandchild's welfare, they may petition the court for guardianship. With guardianship, the court orders the grandparent to have custody of the child, or manage the child's property, or both.

If Child Protective Services (CPS) has removed your grandchild from their parents' home, you should contact Cutter & Lax to learn about juvenile court and what you should do.

If the court grants you guardianship, you will be responsible for the child's food, clothing, shelter, safety and protection. You will also be responsible for their education and their medical care.

Going to Court

Aside from domestic violence and substance abuse, guardianships are necessary in other situations as well. For instance, when a parent is in the military and has to go overseas, is going to a drug rehab program, or is being sent to jail or prison.

A probate guardianship "of the person" is necessary since the grandchild is no longer living with their parent. In order for the grandparents to act on the child's behalf, they must have a court order to make important decisions for the child.

To learn more about guardianship proceedings and what is required of you, contact an Encino family law attorney from Cutter & Lax.

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