Protecting Your Grandchild from Your Addicted Adult Child

Every day, grandparents throughout this country are dealing with heartbreaking situations involving their drug-addicted adult sons and daughters and the innocent grandchildren who are suffering as a result.

How can you protect a grandchild or grandchildren who are in this difficult situation? No matter what you do, there’s going to be significant upheaval and stress around the actions you are taking, even if you’re taking them for all the right reasons. Be prepared for this.

You can file for temporary custody of your grandchild. In fact, you can file for an emergency hearing for temporary custody and, depending on how dangerous the home is, the child can potentially be removed immediately and placed in your custody, at least temporarily.

You would do well to get support through this time of transition with counseling, therapy, talking to emotionally healthy people who will listen and other support. Also, make sure you take care of yourself during this challenging process. You are embarking on raising another child when you have already raised one family. But you likely don’t have the energy you did when you raised your own children. Making sure that you take care of yourself during this time is critical, because you need to be as emotionally and physically fit as possible to help your young grandchild navigate the big change. And as much as you want to protect your grandchild, you may feel resentful that you finished raising children and now you’re going to have to start all over again. These feelings are all normal.

In addition to getting counseling support, it can be helpful to work with a lawyer who has experience dealing with Child Protective Services (CPS), because this agency will be heavily involved in your case and in your grandchild’s life. Emergency custody with another family member is often granted, unless there is good reason not to grant it, when you can demonstrate that the parent in question (you daughter or son) is addicted and a danger to your grandchild.

You will not be given permanent custody immediately, however. You will be given temporary custody, which could ultimately lead to adoption if your adult child who is the parent can’t fulfill the requirements of CPS to regain custody of his or her child. Your grandchild will receive health care benefits and may be able to participate in other special programs for children in this situation.

It is wise to learn about your rights early on with regard to adoption. Has there been a noncustodial parent in the picture who has not been a part of the grandchild’s life? You might consider tracking that parent down and determining whether they are indeed willing to terminate all rights to their child. This would clear the way for a potential adoption down the road.

You will also need to follow all CPS rules. For example, your daughter or son, in most cases, will not be allowed to visit your grandchild unless they have permission from CPS. Or CPS may need to supervise the visit. You need to comply with these rules or CPS may take your grandchild away from you. It’s a tough situation, but your grandchild is worth fighting for, and so is your adult child. Hopefully, while you have custody of your grandchild, your daughter or son will be able to get the help they need to put their lives back on track.

Contact the Law Office of Len Conner & Associates

At the Law Office of Len Conner & Associates, we offer a free initial consultation in all family law matters, including issues relating to obtaining temporary or permanent custody of a grandchild when the situation involves a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Send us an e-mail or call our office at (972) 445-1500 or 972-445-1500 if you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Or call us toll free at (877) 613-5800 for an appointment.

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