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Grandparents play increasingly important roles in Georgia families

Many grandparents in Georgia play a very active role in the lives of their grandchildren. In fact, a number of grandparents even live with their grandchildren in multi-generational homes or raise their grandchildren, acting as their primary caregivers. It was recently reported that one in 10 American children live in households with their grandparents, and about 2.6 million American children are being raised primarily by their grandparents.

While grandparents are playing increasingly critical roles in childrearing across the country, here in Georgia grandparents' rights remain very complicated.

For example, when a parent is unfit to care for a child due to mental health issues or drug abuse, among other circumstances, he or she may lose parental rights. In such cases it is possible for grandparents to seek custody of children, but the process for this varies depending upon whether the parent agrees to relinquish custody, the parent is opposed to relinquishing custody, or the parent has already lost custody.

In any case, it is wise for grandparents to seek legal counsel in order to handle the case appropriately and protect the best interests of the child involved.

When grandparents do obtain custody of their grandchildren, they may also be able to receive child support in some cases. Many grandparents' rights cases, however, involve visitation rather than custody. Often, a parent might try to keep a child away from his or her grandparents. This might happen after a divorce, when a custodial parent no longer wants a child to spend time with the former in-laws. In such circumstances, grandparents who have had an active role in a grandchild's life may petition a court for visitation rights.

In many cases, grandparents in Georgia benefit from seeking legal representation in order to obtain visitation or custody of their grandchildren.

As the number of grandparents who are raising or helping to raise their grandchildren continues to rise, it is very important that grandparents' rights are protected. 

Source: Washington Post, "As families become more complicated, more grandparents care for kids, study says," Tara Bahrampour, Nov. 5, 2013

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