Recently released Census figures show that the number of children living with their grandparents has risen 64 percent over the past twenty years. When the survey was conducted in 2010, 2.7 million grandparents were the primary caretakers for their grandchildren.
While many grandparents are happy to have the opportunity to care for their grandchildren, this also presents some financial difficulties for individuals or couples who had planned on scaling back in their later years. In fact, about 21 percent of these families were living in poverty.
One contributing factor is that as many Florida couples enter retirement they choose to move out of their homes and into apartments, condos, or senior living communities. These changes are often an important part of a plan to accommodate a fixed income, but a smaller home is incompatible with raising children again.
There are a variety of factors that can lead to grandparents seeking full child custody, although if a parent is still available it may be difficult to convince the a judge that awarding grandparents with custody is the best solution. An expert from the AARP said that grandparents may end up raising their grandkids because of incarceration of the parents, substance abuse problems, and various mental health issues. The high divorce rate plays a role as well.
For Florida grandparents who have decided to seek custody of their grandchildren, it is important to assess the situation from the perspective of the court and look at the objective factors that could impact the best interests of the child.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, “More and more, grandparents raising their grandkids,” Anita Creamer, July 15, 2013