Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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Family Law Attorney

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

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Grandparents may need to step in to care for grandkids

Sometimes, parents are not the best versions of themselves. This can lead to an unsafe living environment for children for a number of reasons. Grandparents, who love their grandkids very much, may feel that they are a child's best guardian, whether temporarily or long-term. Guardianship is a legal option that grandparents may opt for when seeking physical or legal custody of grandchildren.

Since guardianship isn't as permanent as adoption, it can be a great way for grandparents to legally care for their grandkids when the parents aren't feeling or acting their best. Since a parent can technically limit the interaction a grandparent has with a grandchild, this may feel like your only option to properly care for them. It is possible that a child has already entered the foster care system, and a grandparent is trying to get them into a stable and loving home environment. Visitation may be automatically allowed at this point, but in order to remove a child from foster care, legal steps may need to be taken.

This is what makes guardianship such an attractive option for grandparents and grandchildren. It simply puts a legal stamp of approval on a living situation and gives legal decision making rights, whether temporarily or over many years. Since parental rights need not be completely revoked, only temporarily suspended for some parents - this is a way to keep the family together. Children often have a positive and loving relationship with their parents and it is often in their best interests to be with their grandparents.

Visitation may be great for some grandparents, but, for others, it's not enough. Knowing that you are providing the love and care your grandchildren deserve means peace of mind for guardians of grandchildren. It means keeping the family together and supporting one another through some possibly tough times. Guardianship is a legal option that, if used correctly, can bring about a positive home environment for children.

Source: The Huffington Post, "When Grandkids Need You To Care For Them, What Are Your Legal Options?," Bari Zell Weinberger, September 15, 2016

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Springfield, MA 01103

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