SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – If a grandparents wants to obtain custody of their grandchildren, can they? Attorney Dawn McDonald, from the Law Office of Cooley Shrair in Springfield, shared more a grandparents legal rights.
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How do Grandparents obtain Custody of their Grandchildren?
For a variety of reasons, Grandparents often find themselves in a position where they find it necessary to become legally responsible for their grandchildren. Sometimes they are helping their child out temporarily and other times the situation requires a more permanent solution. Depending on the facts of each case, there are a number of ways that a grandparent can obtain responsibility for their grandchildren.
Can’t a grandparent simply informally care for their grandchildren?
They can, however the downside to doing this informally is that they have no legal authority to make decisions. For example, what if the child got injured and needed medical attention? Only the child’s parent or legal guardian can make decisions about the child’s care.
So what is a more formal way to solve the problem?
The best way to secure legal custody is to seek a guardianship with the Probate and Family Court. In order to do this, you must show that the child’s parent(s) are either unfit or unavailable to care for the child. You can fill out the necessary forms at the court and the Court will schedule a hearing. If you can show that the parents are unfit or unavailable, you will be granted temporary custody.
The next step is to give the notice you receive from court to the parents. Once you show that you served the parents, if you can demonstrate that the parents are still unfit or unavailable, the judge will give you permanent guardianship.
Are there other options?
Yes, another option available is to adopt the grandchild. In this circumstance, the rights of the birth parents are terminated. It is very important that an adoption be done correctly, so it is highly recommended that if you are considering this option, you contact legal counsel.
About Cooley Shrair:
Cooley, Shrair P.C., founded in 1946 by Judge Sidney M. Cooley and Attorney Edward B. Cooley, is a progressive law firm located in Springfield, MA. Cooley Shrair provides unequaled service to its clients. Our unparalleled response time to our clients’ needs is the foundation of our mission statement.
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