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Increasing number of grandparents are assuming guardianship roles

Many people have fond memories of growing up and visiting their grandparents. These visits might be viewed as a special opportunity for bonding. However, changes in a child's family situation may require grandparents to take on a more hands-on role in raising children, sometimes as the primary caregiver.

A recent study shows that a growing number of children are living with their grandparents. This shift in family dynamics, according to researchers for the organization US 2010, is connected to divorce, remarriage and single parenting. Oftentimes, grandparents are needed to provide support to their adult children or assume custody entirely.

Statistics provided by AARP support the research presented by US 2010. Nationally, 7.8 children are living in the same household as at least one grandparent. Of those kids, about 1 million of them are living under the care of a grandparent without either parent present.

Even when their children grow into adulthood and have kids of their own, many grandparents feel a sense of obligation to offer assistance as necessary. The reality is that certain life events may require grandparents to step in and provide a stable household.

Taking in a grandchild in times of need may not even be a question for many people. However, some grandparents might want to explore what legal options they have under Arizona family law to further ensure the health and well-being of their grandchildren by assuming child custody. Even though there might be an informal understanding between parents and grandparents about living arrangements, it may be in the best interests of the children to make that relationship more concrete.

Source: Washington Post, "As families become more complicated, more grandparents care for kids, study says," Tara Bahrampour, Nov. 5, 2013

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