Are you a grandparent who is seeking legal custody or guardianship of your
grandchild? If so, this post is intended to give you a brief overview
of what those entail. If you are given legal custody of your grandchild,
he or she will live with you and you will have the legal authority to
make decisions on their behalf, such as where the child attends school,
what medical care they receive, and what extracurricular activities he
or she is enrolled in.
Guardianship can happen in one of two situations: 1) the parent or parents
are willing to let you care for the child (this is common when parents
are incarcerated or deployed in the military), or 2) when the child is
a victim of abuse and neglect.
As a guardian, there are limits to the decisions that you can make for
the child and it’s usually a temporary situation. While you would
be responsible for the care, custody and control of your grandchild, you
would not be responsible for his or her expenses.
As a guardian:
- You are authorized to make medical decisions on the child’s behalf.
- No one can take your grandchild away from you.
- You are entitled to public benefits on the child’s behalf.
- You can obtain a protective or restraining order if your grandchild is
a victim of child abuse.
- You need the court’s permission if you want to move out of the country
with your grandchild.
If you seek guardianship, the court will want to know if you have any recent
Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy filings and if you have any felony convictions.
If you are raising your grandchild but you do not have legal custody of
him or her, your options are limited. If your grandchild is a victim of
abuse, neglect, or abandonment by both parents and you pursue legal custody,
be aware that it can interfere with the child’s relationships with
his or her parents. But sometimes, legal custody is in the child’s
best interests and that’s clear.
I hope this posts helps you better understand how guardianship works in
Tennessee. If you need
estate planning advice, feel free to
contact my firm directly.