No matter their age, as a parent you want what is best for your child. Yet, if your adult child is paying the consequences of addiction, criminal behavior, or other poor choices, your focus may shift to what is best for your grandchildren. In this case, the most ideal option may be to pursue temporary or permanent custody of the kids. The following can help you prepare if you decide to go this route.
Prepare your home
You must be able to show the court that you can provide a safe and nurturing environment for your grandchildren. This will often require at least one home visit. Your attorney, and the social worker assigned to your case, can help you ensure that your home fits the required local regulations, but the following can provide some general guidance. As a general rule, you will want to provide private, single-gender bedrooms for your grandchildren. They can usually share with same-gender siblings or cousins that are comparable in age. You also want to make sure that the home is reasonably clean, and that all major needs, such as working indoor plumbing, are met. Safety is also a major concern, particularly if you will be bringing a young child into your home. This means properly baby-proofing and making sure your home is up to code.
Show an ability to provide support
The court doesn't want to move the children from one bad situation to another, so you do need to be able to show that you can physically and financially support your grand kids. You don't have to be in perfect health, but you do need to be able to provide basic care. If you need a caregiver yourself, you may not be deemed fit for full time custody unless you can demonstrate that your need for a caregiver won't impede your ability to give care. Financial support is also important. You may be able to secure some child support from either the state or the parents, but you must also demonstrate that you can provide at least basic financial care on your own. This may mean showing proof of income or retirement income, as well as detailing current expenses.
Prepare to prove yourself
There are other steps that may be required, which can vary by state as well as the specific circumstances. For example, you may be required to attend therapy sessions with the children, provide visitation to the biological parents, attend parenting classes, or to provide specific things to help the children adjust. For temporary custody situations, there may be requirements for both you and the biological parents to work together in a counseling or other setting to create a more stable future for the children and to help them be reunited with their parents.
Contact a family law attorney for more help. Companies such as the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C. can help.