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When parents struggle with addiction, grandparents seek custody

As we've discussed the subject of minor parents and family legal issues in recent weeks, let's turn our focus to the other end of the spectrum. Dallas residents may be familiar with the subject of grandparents' rights within the context of child custody and adoption. A recent public radio story highlighted the issue in some detail.

The story focused on a young woman whose parents had her committed due to opiate addiction. After the requisite courtroom proceedings, her parents took custody of their daughter's two small children. The swelling numbers at a support group attest to the growth of this phenomenon.

Grandparents who step up in this way are not typically at a point in their lives where they can afford the expenses associated with a young family. They may need to take second jobs, if they can, or take out a second mortgage. And being a generation removed from their grandchildren, they have a steep learning curve ahead as they seek to play supportive, instructive role models facing modern challenges.

The legal system, in addition, is something through which they are likely to feel as if they are flying blind. Some grandparents are ready to relinquish custody once a child's addiction is under control and he or she is compliant with the terms set by the court. Others may need to go through the process of adoption with their grandchildren.

Even though their neighbors and community members in Dallas may view them as heroes, the legal system can present difficult questions for grandparents seeking custody or adoption of their grandchildren. We'll look in a follow-up post at how a family law professional can help.

Source: WVXU.org, "Grandparents Step In When Parents Get Hooked On Opiates," Aug. 4, 2015

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