The desire to retire early and live a relaxed life without many responsibilities is common among many people in Alaska who have worked hard for many years. Unfortunately, the dream of relaxing during the golden years may not always come true. US census data shows that there are over 7.1 million people living with their underage grandchildren, with more than a third responsible for kids younger than 6. Many grandparents file for grandparent guardianship.
Grandparent guardianship is a legal process that allows grandparents to obtain court-ordered custody of their grandchildren if the parents are unable or unwilling to do so. In cases like this, one or both parents have died, gotten divorced or abandoned the children, leaving them without parental care and support. Grandparents can also become involved when the parents cannot provide for their children due to substance abuse, mental health issues or incarceration.
In Alaska, the court system often grants temporary or permanent guardianship to grandparents who have demonstrated that they can provide a suitable and stable home for their grandchildren. Grandparents will likely need hard evidence to demonstrate they can take on parental responsibilities, such as a log of child-related expenses, character references and a parenting plan.
It’s important to note that Grandparents Rights differ from those of adoptive parents or legal guardians. The court system usually only grants temporary powers over a minor until they determine that there is no chance for reunification with the natural parent. This means that although grandparents may enjoy certain rights for an extended period, these rights do not necessarily make them the guardians or adoptive parents of their grandchildren.
If reunification with the parents is not possible, grandparents can either seek permanent guardianship or adopt their grandchildren. Grandparents may want to seek counsel from an attorney to ensure the best results.