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Understanding Grandparents’ rights in Massachusetts

While parents are granted custodial rights to their children at birth, there are certain situations that may arise that require someone else to care for those children. These cases are rare though. But, that should not dissuade a grandparent who believes that the best interests of a child would be best served if they became the primary caretaker and guardian of their grandchild.

Such situations may include a parent or parents who are deemed unfit to care for their child. This could be the result of a history of drug or alcohol abuse domestic violence or parents who are mentally or physically disabled.

Parents who are in the military and travel frequently may also grant a grandparent custodial rights. In addition, parents who are not physically present, such as parents who are incarcerated or who have died, are also situations where a grandparent may obtain custodial and guardian rights for their grandchild.

Possible types of custody for a grandparent in the state of Massachusetts include a temporary agent, which is less than 60 days, and a caregiver authorization for a minor child for up to two years. Guardianships could be temporary or permanent, but require a yearly report to the court, foster care or adoption.

If one is a grandparent seeking legal custody of a child, it is advised to reach out to a firm familiar with family law and grandparents’ rights. It is not always easy to win custody or visitation rights, due to the philosophies of the courts throughout the country.

Source:, “A Resource Guide for Massachusetts’ Grandparents Raising their Grandchildren,” accessed on June 5, 2017