What You Need to Know About Giving Temporary Custody to Grandparents

What You Need to Know About Giving Temporary Custody to Grandparents

There are approximately 2.7 divorces per 1,000 people living in the United States. Divorce or any breakup is hard; when children are involved, it is more complicated.

In some extreme cases, the court, a therapist, or parents themselves will seek out a third-party custody situation. Grandparents are often the first thought in these temporary custody agreements.

If you are giving temporary custody to grandparents, read on to learn what you need to know about grandparent custody.

What is a Temporary Custody Agreement?

A temporary custody agreement is a legal document that transfers the responsibility and decision-making authority from the biological parent or parents to another qualified party.

Temporary custody agreements are standard in high-conflict divorces and in instances where the parents have health issues that prevent them from caring for their children.

Temporary custody does not require termination of the parental rights of the biological parents.

What Does it Mean to Be an Unfit Parent?

Each state defines “unfit” differently. Abusive parents are unfit to care for their children, but so are parents who fail to visit or support their children.

Parents that are incarcerated or who have uncontrolled addiction to drugs are also deemed unfit.  In a custody situation, being an unfit parent means that custody will be taken away from the parent temporarily or permanently.

What is Third Party Custody?

Third-party custody agreements or petitions transfer the responsibility for the care of underage children to someone other than the biological parents.

A third-party custody agreement is filed in family court. A judge or magistrate can order third-party custody in cases where the parent is deemed unfit or where it is in the child’s best interest to be removed from the home.

The document remains in effect until the court modifies it. Changes to the agreement are not made until the circumstances of the parents change.

What is Grandparent Guardianship?

Guardianship or conservatorship applies to adults and children who cannot make appropriate decisions for themselves. Guardianships are typically filed in probate court and must be reviewed annually.

In the guardianship of children, the parents must be declared unfit, unwilling, or unable to care for the child.

The guardianship remains in place until it is petitioned to change. The court will not change guardianship unless the family situation has changed significantly.

Grandparents, especially ones with a strong relationship with the child, are often ideal guardians in situations where divorce prevents the parents from acting in the child’s best interest.

Need Help Giving Temporary Custody to Grandparents?

Contact us at Crosson Richetti and Daigle via phone or our online form. Our qualified team can support you through child custody issues, giving temporary custody to grandparents, divorce, and LGBT family law.

We understand that this can be an emotional time. We will use all of the tools at our disposal to help you navigate the legal issues. We prefer to collaborate or mediate to achieve your goals, but we will litigate when necessary. 

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