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Grandparents often seek custody rights due to parent addiction

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Many older Arizonans dream of the day when they can kick back, relax and enjoy their free time. Yet, many of these older individuals are taking on a parental role, again. In fact, more than 2.5 million American grandparents have taken on the role of raising their grandchildren. The reasons for obtaining custody of a grandchild can be wide-ranging, including divorce and parental addiction. Since this phenomenon appears to becoming more common, it is important Arizonans become aware of grandparents' rights.

When a dispute arises as to custody rights, a court seeks to find a home that supports the best interest of the child. Thus, a court may consider a parent and grandparent's ability to provide emotionally and financially for the child, which home is most stable, which home can provide for the child's needs, and which individual with which the child is most bonded. In a case where the child has been removed from a parent's home because of neglect or drug addiction, a grandparent may wish to seek custody rights to prevent the child from going to foster care.

Whether a grandparent wishes to seek full custody from unfit parents or mere visitation rights, obtaining legal assistance may be extremely beneficial. An attorney can sit with the grandparents to discuss the custody process and what legal options exist to satisfy the grandparent's wishes. Then, the attorney can use evidence and witnesses to buttress legal arguments showing why grandparent visitation or custody is in the child's best interest.

Children deserve to be raised in a safe, loving and stable household. When parents are unable to provide such an environment, grandparents may want to step in. The legal process can be confusing and fueled by emotion. Yet, a strong legal advocate can simplify the process and leave grandparents feeling comfortable that their rights are being protected.

Source: The Logan Daily News, "More grandparents raise grandchildren due to addiction," Debra Tobin, Jan. 2, 2014

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