If you are like millions of other grandparents across the country, including in Virginia, you may find yourself raising your grandchildren. There are many reasons this could happen. Numerous situations, from domestic violence to the death of the children’s parents, may result in your being given legal child custody. At Donna Dougherty Law P.C., we receive many questions from grandparents on how they can effectively start this challenging and often unexpected phase of life.
AARP has provided a great deal of information regarding grandparent custody. What should you do first when your grandchildren come to live at your home? The children’s basic needs should be accounted for initially. These include the following:
- Beds for the children to sleep on
- Clothing and personal items
- Food and any necessary medication
- Items and equipment for babies or young children, such as a crib, car seat or stroller
Next, you will need to take care of your grandchildren’s needs for a longer term. Get information on their schools, extracurricular activities and interests. Contact the adults who know the children, such as their teachers, doctors, social workers and counselors. It is also a good idea to gather together the important paperwork you will need for the children’s care. These include birth certificates, immunization and dental records, guardianship or custody paperwork or consent forms signed by the children’s parents.
Grandparent custody may be overwhelming at first, but remember you have done this before when raising your own children. The best tactic is to take things one small step at a time. For more information on custody matters, including raising grandchildren, please visit our page.