Divorce is hard on everyone, especially the children. Sometimes neither parent is in a position to raise their children. Perhaps one travels frequently and one is an addict. Whatever the situation, the children’s grandparents may decide to step in and seek custody.
Grandparents in New Jersey have the right to petition for custody despite the objections of the parents. While it may be a long and difficult battle, there are guidelines set in place to assist grandparents who are seeking custody of their grandchildren.
Reasons grandparents may seek custody of grandchildren
The most common reasons for grandparents to seek custody are as follows:
- The children have lived in their grandparent’s house for six months or longer.
- The children’s parents are addicted to drugs/alcohol.
- There is the potential for physical abuse in the children’s home.
- The parents are deceased.
- The grandparents have more financial stability than the parents.
- The parents willingly surrendered the children to the grandparents.
Once the grandparents make their intentions known, they must file a petition for custody with the courts. The court will then ask for the following from them:
- Proof of age
- Proof of financial stability
- Health records
Other helpful records to present to the court include copies of birthday or holiday cards sent to the children, receipts for clothing or food for the children, and calendars that show dates when the grandparents babysat or kept the children overnight.
Proving that the parents are unfit to care for the children is crucial, as courts do not hand over custody to grandparents unless the need is dire. This is when you will need to present rehab receipts, arrest records, and proof that the children want to live with you. Seek legal guidance to help you through this custody battle.