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More Texas Grandparents Are Raising Grandchildren Due to Drug Abuse

How can I obtain custody of my grandchild?

Drug abuse, particularly abuse of prescription drugs, is on the rise nationwide. With so many people hooked on drugs, countless children are left to suffer. At times, it takes a grandparent to step in and raise the child when the child’s parents are battling addition problems. Today, it is estimated by Generations United, a non-profit that aims to help grandparents raising grandchildren, that about 10,000 children in Texas live with their grandparent or another relative due to drug or alcohol abuse occurring within the home. This figure leaves out the many grandparents informally raising their grandchildren who have not needed court involvement.

Seeking Custody of Your Grandchild

If you find yourself in the role of caregiver to your grandchild, you may will want to take steps to protect yourself and your grandchild legally. You will need the legal power to enroll your grandchild in school and make vital medical decisions. Grandparents that will become the primary caregiver for the rest of the child’s life may wish to pursue formal custody of the grandchild.

You may wish to consider having the parents of your grandchild execute a power of attorney if you feel that you will only need to step in temporarily. If the parents are seeking help for their addiction problems, for instance, a power of attorney is ideal as it gives you temporary authority, but will still allow the child to eventually return to the care and control of the parents. With a power of attorney, you can have physical custody of the grandchild and will be able to make important decisions for the grandchild, depending on how the power of attorney is written, but the parents can rescind this legal document at any time.

If the parents will not consent to a power of attorney or if you wish to pursue permanent custody, you will need to seek custody in court. You will need to show that the child’s living conditions would cause harm to his or her emotional or physical health if he or she remains in the home and that you have had significant past contact with the child. Alternatively, the parents could consent to providing you with custody. A custody lawsuit can prove complicated and time consuming. Contact a family law attorney for help pursuing legal rights over your grandchild.