Many challenges exist for grandparents taking care of grandchildren

The military can provide a number of benefits to a person but it can also be difficult on families in Sarasota. Military divorce is common and many military servicemen and women find themselves caring for a child with little support. In the event that a parent faces deployment overseas, it may fall upon the grandparents to provide a home for the child and this can result in a unique situation. Because the arrangement is often a temporary one, grandparents often do not hold legal guardianship or child custody of their grandchildren.

However, this can create a number of challenges for grandparents, who are often struggling to feed and care for themselves. Many grandparents are over the age of 65 and their health is fragile. The system that was designed to provide for them is often not enough and without legal custody of grandchildren, they can find themselves struggling to meet the basic needs of their expanded family unit. 

It was estimated that millions of children were living with their grandparents in 2010 and that number is not likely to have changed. Furthermore, there has been a 64 percent increase in grandparents assuming the role of parent for their children’s offspring in the last 20 years. While some parents are military personnel and subject to long absences, others may be simply unable to care for their child because of addiction or poor economic factors.

If a grandparent finds themselves taking on the role of nurturer and provider there are legal steps they may be able to take to help them qualify for area programs and state and federal assistance. Therefore, they may find it beneficial to speak with an experienced attorney who understands military family law issues.

Source: The Bulletin News, “Grandparents raising grandkids; Generation often means emotional, financial assistance,” Anita Creamer, July 19, 2013

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