Family dynamics are constantly in a state of flux. What were once the non-traditional families of yesterday are normal today. More grandparents are raising their grandchildren, civil unions are recognized and more children are growing up in single parent homes and homes with a step-parent. Fortunately, the law seeks to protect the best interests of the child, so the law stays in tune with these changing familial dynamics.
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Not everyone is fit to be a parent. Unfortunately, though, sometimes individuals who do not possess the qualities and skills needed for parenthood wind up with children of their own. This can be a less than favorable situation for a child. For this reason, Arizona courts recognize grandparents' rights, which extend to visitation, custody and guardianship. By taking the appropriate legal action, Arizonan grandparents can fight for what they believe is right for their grandchildren.
Nowadays it is not uncommon for grandparents to develop a strong bond with their grandchildren. In fact, in many instances, grandparents essentially raise their grandchildren even though they do not have any legal right to custody. However, despite this strong bond, grandparents may be denied the ability to see their grandchildren if the children's parents divorce and one parent obtains sole custody, or if the parents simply do not want the grandparents to see the children.
Most Arizonan grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren. However, there is an emerging trend across America: grandparents who raise their grandchildren. In fact, more than five million grandchildren are raised by their grandparents, and that number is believed to be higher due to underreporting. So what is causing so many grandparents to raise their grandchildren? There are many reasons, including divorce, death of the child's parents, and financially insecure parents. Yet, one of the biggest reasons why grandchildren are being raised by their grandparents is substance abuse by a child's parents.
Many of Arizona's grandparents have close bonds with their grandchildren. Unfortunately, though, these relationships may be in danger when the parents of these grandchildren divorce. In those instances, a grandparent can be squeezed out of the situation and denied their right to see their grandchildren. When this happens, grandparents may have to take legal action to acquire and protect their grandparents' rights.
Readers of this blog know the challenges that can arise from child custody disputes. Though these fights often arise in the context of a divorce, it is by no means the only time child custody can become an issue. In fact, quite often a child custody battle can occur when there is a question regarding a mother or father's parenting ability. For example, parents who have substance abuse problems may be unable to adequately and safely care for their children. Also, parents who travel extensively for work and leave children home alone may be incapable of providing the support the child needs.
More and more, grandparents are heading households that raise their grandchildren. In fact, according to AARP, almost 4.9 million children live in their grandparents' household. The reasons for a grandparent to obtain custody of a grandchild can be numerous, but oftentimes grandparents seek to obtain custody when grandchildren's parents die or unfit parents become unable to care for their own children.
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.
Families can take many shapes and extended family members are often close to one another. When a child is involved in these situations, difficulties can arise when there is a divorce, a death, or a termination of parental rights. Grandparents often wish to maintain a close relationship with their grandchildren despite the change in familial structure, but, unfortunately, this can often lead to embroiled legal battles. One of these cases arose recently and may help Arizona residents understand what they can do when time with their grandchildren is in jeopardy.
So called "grandfamilies," familial units where grandparents head a household in which they raise their grandchildren, are becoming more common across the U.S. According to U.S. Census data, 5.4 million children younger than age 18 live in a household headed by a grandparent. Sometimes grandparents agree to take care of grandchildren due to the children's parent's substance abuse, financial difficulties, or familial problems. However, many of these grandparents do not have legal custody of their grandchildren, which may disallow them from making important decisions in a child's life.