One in 10 American children today lives with a grandparent. Of those approximately 7.7 million children, census figures show that grandparents are the primary caregivers for 3 million, including more than a quarter of a million children in Texas.
Many grandparetns don’t think twice about assuming the custody of grandchildren when the need arises, because family ties and familial love initially overcome practical considerations. However, forming a"grand-family" a household in which a grandparent, in the absence of parents raises grandchildren — has far-reaching effects on lifestyle, grandparent visitation rights, economic status, and often quality of life.Getting Custody in Texas
Unless the child's parent(s) sign a power of attorney giving you the power to say where the child lives and to make decisions for the child, you must go to court to get custody over a grandchild. This means you have to file a lawsuit in a court asking the court to give you custody of the child.
To file an original lawsuit asking for custody:
The grandchild has to have lived with you for 6 months. If the child lived with you for 6 months but is now living with someone else, the child must have moved out within 90 days of when you file the lawsuit, or
A court has to have named you as the child's guardian; or
You must be able to prove that the child is being hurt because of the child's living conditions or by the people caring for the child; or
Both of the child's parents, a surviving parent, the child's court appointed managing conservator, or the child's custodian have to agree that the child should live with you.
Sometimes, someone else has already filed a lawsuit asking a court to say who the child should live with. To enter an existing lawsuit is "to intervene." A grandparent who wants to intervene in a lawsuit must:
Have had a lot of past contact with the child and
Be able to prove that the child is being hurt because of the child's living conditions or by the people caring for the child.
Resources, Assistance and Support for Grandparents
If You Are Raising a Grandchild - The National Family Caregiver Support Program provides support for the growing number of older people who care for children. This program can help grandparents or other relatives (55 and older) who are caring for a child 18 or younger. Call 1-800-252-9240 to learn more.
Below is a list of additional helpful resources, assistance and support services we have complied that we hope will be of help to you, or someone you know:
Anyone with children can tell you that raising them is a challenge. Grandparents have already met that challenge once with their own children. But now many grandparents are called upon to meet it again with the next generation.
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