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Do grandparents have rights when their grandkids are abandoned?

Although this story comes from another state, there is no doubt it is a widespread problem across the country and one that many Texas grandparents can relate to. There is a group of grandparents who claim their adult children have abandoned their grandkids due to problems with drug addiction. The grandparents in this group say it is a growing problem for them because the drugs become more powerful than their children's desire to raise their own kids.

Grandparents' rights vary from state to state with some states allowing grandparents custody and visitation rights in matters of divorce and other issues. Consulting with a Texas family law attorney can help you understand what your rights are if you are a grandparent struggling with custody or visitation issues with your grandchildren.

When grandparents take over the raising of their grandkids, they are dealing with issues of abandonment and feelings of betrayal the children go through. After working through these issues and attempting to make the children feel safe, secure and loved, the parents come back and the child is forced back into an unstable environment. He or she might feel abandoned all over again, this time by the grandparents.

Many grandparents who go through this are caught in the middle and may feel they have minimal legal rights to prevent such turmoil in their grandkids lives. It is a parent's right to raise their own children, however when those children abandon those rights to only change their mind down the road, the grandparents are sometimes left without a say.

There is also the issue of financial challenges of raising grandchildren. Because some grandparents do not have the same legal rights that parents do they are often not entitled to child support or other financial assistance through the courts. Many of these grandparents are retired and on a fixed income making it even tougher on the household.

Add the fact that there is very little in the way of support groups to help these grandparents cope with the challenges of raising their grandkids and it becomes a real strain for everyone concerned. The grandparents in this story are planning to start their own support group later this summer with the goal of helping each other understand their rights and the steps they can take to help both themselves and their grandkids cope with the changes and challenges in their lives.

Source: 13 News, "Drug problem forces more grandparents to raise their grandchildren," Saul Saenz, May 10, 2012

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