When a Texas family is facing a loved one who is struggling with addiction, there are a great many negative effects that ripple outward, affecting many people. When an addiction prevents a parent from providing the proper level of care for a child, things can be even more complicated. This set of circumstances places extended family in a position of having to step in and provide a safe and loving home for the kids, and grandparents are often the first to accept that responsibility. Now, one state has passed a law that will help grandparents gain child custody of their grandchildren.
The law is specifically aimed at families facing addiction. In cases where a parent is unable to provide care for a child and there is a willing grandparent who is prepared to take the child in, then that grandparent is given preferential status in court. That means that more children can stay out of foster care, and can be cared for by people that they know and trust. Many of these kids have gone through a great deal before a custody change takes place, and having that stability can be of great comfort to them.
Even better, grandparents who have custody of their grandchildren will have a secure stance when faced with future custody challenges. The new law directs judges to consider the best interests of the child when looking at a custody challenge against a grandparent. That means more stability for kids, and for the grandparents who are taking on the role of primary caregiver. Grandparents will also be advised of all available resources to assist them, which can be helpful to many families.
For Texas grandparents who are considering stepping in to provide a safe and secure home for their grandchildren, it is important to work with a child custody attorney who is familiar with cases involving addiction and alternative family placement. This is a scenario that no grandparent wishes to consider, but one that can occur with little warning. Being prepared to present a comprehensive legal argument is the best course of action, absent a law like the one discussed above.
Source: startribune.com, “New Hampshire law gives grandparents custody preference”, Michael Casey, June 28, 2017