When parents leave their children in the care of their grandparents for extended periods, they have the right to take them away whenever they wish. This may be devastating for grandparents, but according to Massachusetts law, they have no right to refuse the parents. Grandparents may benefit from consulting with a family law attorney to discuss the viability of seeking child custody.
Parents facing marital, mental or financial problems often leave their children in the care of the grandparents. There could even be a substance abuse problem, and parents often regard their decision to reclaim the children as legitimate and entirely reasonable. Unfortunately, parents with such psychological problems often feel reminded of their own shortcomings when they think of their children in their grandparents’ care. It is not uncommon for parents to turn vindictive and cut all ties between grandparents and their grandchildren.
Grandparents often experience anxiety over the possibility of the grandchildren being taken away without warning, but they may fear that taking action would cause estrangement. Grandparents who seek custody of the children may have a stronger legal footing when parents reappear eventually. The uncertain conditions of children not knowing when their parents will take them away could have emotional consequences that may affect the rest of their lives.
Massachusetts grandparents who are the long-term caregivers of their grandchildren may feel overwhelmed with their lack of knowledge related to the legal procedures required. They may find comfort knowing that there are legal professionals who will guide them through the legalities of seeking child custody. Fortunately, the objective of both the family court and the grandparents are the same — to do what is in the best interest of the children. Our child custody website may provide more information.
Source: grandparents.about.com, “Why Grandparents Should Seek Legal Custody or Guardianship“, Susan Adcox, Oct. 3, 2014