A report recently released by Brown University reveals that an increasing number of grandparents in New Mexico and nationwide are helping to raise their grandchildren. Many of these individuals are seeking to enforce formal grandparents’ rights.
Data shows that 7.7 million children were residing in the same household of at least one grandparent in 2011. While in some cases this meant that the child was living in their grandparents’ home, it also included children who resided with at least one parent and grandparent. Many observers point to the 2008 financial downturn and subsequent recession as a primary reason for these living arrangements.
The study showed that close to 20 percent of grandparents who reside with grandchildren have incomes below the federal poverty line. One-third of the grandmothers living with their grandchildren are considered the primary caregivers in the home, and African-American and Hispanic grandmothers are more likely to reside with grandchildren compared with other races.
In many situations, grandparents and parents may benefit from this living arrangement. A single elderly grandmother may reside with her adult child to save on living costs. At the same time, this grandmother may provide childcare services that the adult child would otherwise have to pay for. Additionally, single parents may be able to earn a better living by working longer hours or pursuing educational goals because they know their children are receiving the care they need.
When grandparents are the primary caregiver for their grandchildren, they may stand in loco parentis and thus have certain rights afforded by law. A family law attorney may be able to help grandparents establish their status as it relates to custody and visitation matters.
Source: Huffington Post, “Study Says More And More Grandparents Are Raising Their Grandkids“, November 06, 2013