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I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Questions MA grandparents should ask before becoming guardians

In Massachusetts, just like everywhere else in the United States, a grandparent may have to assume guardianship, sometimes, after planning carefully or sometimes, unexpectedly. Whichever way it starts out, the guardianship of a minor can be quite overwhelming. Each family has its own resources, and a grandparent will probably find it helpful to ask some questions before taking over the responsibility of the child.

There are certain points to consider before assuming guardianship of a minor. First of all, the grandparent needs to determine if that grandparent is emotionally and physically capable of taking care of the child. Another question is whether the grandparent's partner is also capable of being a guardian to the child. Will the child's parents be involved in raising the child at all? The grandparent must also consider if there are other family members who can support the grandparents in their guardianship role.

The other questions that a grandparent should ask are if guardianship is a permanent or temporary arrangement. If required, can the grandparent take care of the child for longer than originally planned? Financial support is the other parameter on which the guardianship of a minor hinges. With the present financial condition, will the grandparent be able to provide care for the minor? The child's education is another consideration. Will the child have to change schools and move to a new place?

The grandparent also needs to have a backup plan in place, just in case one of the grandparents becomes ill. When a grandparent decides to assume guardianship, it is understood that there is a child custody order in place. It must be established that the child custody order is being followed. Those are all critical concerns. Hence, it may be wise to consult a Massachusetts attorney for guidance in the decision-making process.

Source: Mass.gov, "Grandparents raising grandchildren," accessed on July 25, 2015

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