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Custody awarded to grandparents when parents fail

Raising a child is the generally the responsibility of his or her parents. Pennsylvania readers are aware that not all parents are fit to raise a child, which is the reason why some children live in foster homes or are adopted. Some custody arrangements extend grandparents visitation rights if it's in the best interests of the child. Those same grandparent rights can be exercised in cases where a parent is no longer fit to raise a child. Parents could be considered unfit when domestic violence is present or when a parent is arrested on criminal charges.

Sometimes an unexpected life event such as the death of a parent could prompt grandparents to become parents again for the sake of their grandchildren. Two grandparents recounted their story of raising their grandchildren which began years ago and now have full custody of their 5-year-old granddaughter after her mother, their daughter, died last year.

According to these grandparents, they are different from typical grandparents who spoil their grandchildren and then send them home afterwards. For them, raising a second family is challenging and at the same time rewarding because it allows for nurturing the child. These grandparents advised other grandparents not to give up if they are raising their grandchildren because these children may end up in foster homes unless a family member steps up and seeks custody.

A positive role model is what a child needs most. Grandparents can have a huge impact on the growth and development of their grandchildren and can also become legal guardians, if necessary. In some cases, a court will allow a grandparent to raise a child until an unfit parent becomes fit to raise his or her child.

Custody for grandparents can be a complex legal matter and may be discussed with someone who is well-versed in family law issues and related concerns. In any case, it is always best to be armed with valuable information so that the person can make educated decisions.

Source: Pvtrib.com, "Many grandparents are raising their grandchildren," Sue Tone, July 30, 2014

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