This past Father’s Day saw more Missouri and U.S. grandfathers taking on the role of single dad to their grandkids, according to recent U.S. Census figures. A recent story about four such Missouri grandkids brings a topic that many grandparents can relate to. Census figures show that 5.8 million or more children under the age of 18 throughout the country live in a household headed by one or more grandparent.
Grandparents’ rights have become a hot topic in the media of late and the numbers explain why. Forty percent of the 7 million grandparents who have grandkids living with them report they are responsible for the care of their grandkids. And throughout Missouri and Kansas the figures are even higher. The statistics also show an increase in the number of single grandfathers taking responsibility for their grandkids. A full percentage point increase was seen in single grandfathers housing at least one grandchild from 2007 to 2010.
The reasons for the increase in grandfathers stepping up to take over the parenting role in their grandkids lives is only a guess, however experts point to the increase in baby-boomer divorces as one factor as well as advances in medical science allowing American’s to live longer and healthier lives. However, drugs, alcohol dependency and incarceration still top the list of why kids move into their grandparents’ homes.
Grandparent’s often question whether they should seek a permanent legal adoption or guardianship of their grandkids or perhaps approach it without the legal protections. Then there are the issues surrounding the parents of these kids and the relationship they may wish to have with their parents or in-laws who have stepped up to take care of their children during difficult times.
Many questions regarding support services and funds come into play and sometimes taking over legal guardianship may provide the household more resources through support networks and other services. If you are taking care of your grandkids, it can be beneficial to consult with a family law attorney knowledgeable about grandparents’ rights and the legal options available to you to protect your rights.
As one single grandfather said, you are a daddy when you’re young and you might become a granddaddy or even a great-granddaddy, but you never “stop being a daddy” to your offspring throughout your life.”
Source: Kansas City Star, “More grandpas take on role of single parent,” Eric Adler, June 16, 2012