If you have an adult child who is not taking full responsibility for his or her child, you might end up having that child live with you for weeks or months at a time. Taking on the responsibility of watching your grandchild while your own child works things out in his or her life can often be the best thing for the child. The problem with this is that you may not have any legal rights over this child, and this could interfere with a lot of different things. Seeking temporary legal custody of your grandchild might be a good thing to look into so you can avoid the following issues.

Confusion And Problems With Visitation

One of the hardest parts of situations like this is the way it affects the children involved. Depending on your grandchild's age, he or she may experience a lot of confusion over this situation. The child may wonder why his or her grandparents are taking care of him or her. The child may wonder where his or her parents are. These things are hard on a child, especially if the parents randomly show up and want to take the child for a few days here and there.

With legal custody of this child, you will have full control over him or her. This will stop the parents from just showing up whenever they feel like it, yet it can also give them the right to see the child. The only difference is that the visitation guidelines will be set up by the court.

The benefit of this is that you may be able to provide more stability and consistency in the child's life, and this is exactly what this child will need in order to adjust more easily to this new situation.

Insurance And Healthcare Needs

It's also important to realize that if you have your grandchild in your possession, you do not have legal rights to make healthcare decisions for the child without legal guardianship rights. This is one of the most important reasons to consider seeking custody of this child, even if it is just temporary custody.

Without being the legal guardian of this child, you may encounter the following problems related to the healthcare needs of this child:

  • You cannot make medical decisions for the child.
  • The child's doctor may not be able to give you any information about the child's health or healthcare needs.
  • You will not be able to consent to medical procedures the child needs.
  • You will not have the right to sign permission slips or liability forms for the child.
  • You may experience trouble getting counseling services for the child.
  • You may not be able to place him or her on your insurance plan.

Not only can these issues be devastating for the well-being of the child, but they can become very frustrating for you as you try to care for this child.

School Issues

Without legal custody, you could also encounter issues with the child's education. Most schools will not allow anyone to enroll a child in school expect the child's legal guardian. If you cannot register your grandchild for school, you will have to rely on his or her parents to do this. In addition, if the child is already in school, you may not have the authorization to pick the child up from school or take him or her out early for emergencies or doctor appointments.

Seeking legal custody of a grandchild can be costly and can take a lot of time, but it will make your life easier if you have this child living with you already. To learn more about this issue and the steps required, contact a family law attorney in your area.