For grandparents who state that they want to 'apply for custody of my grandchild/grandchildren' they need a plan of action of exactly how to go about doing this. 

(The content here isn't in any form a 'replacement' for gaining legal advice from a qualified attorney -  any questions should be directed at them).

The reasons to gain custody of your grandchild/grandchildren will often be a unique one, but usually the complexity comes when there is no formal agreement from the parents to the grandparents that they (the grandparents) can take custody.

If they do agree, then it should be a rather simple, free hassle process - however even here, be sure to get in touch with a specialised attorney (or your state department of social services, or legal advice body), and then explain to them your particular case. They should then be able to give you clear directions from there.

Hopefully, the following information and instructions below, will point you in the right direction. However, if you have been denied access to see your grandchildren be sure to check the article 'grandparent denied access to their Grandchild' also.

Firstly begin to conduct relevant research as to what kind of things that are involved in gaining custody of the child or children (like you are most likely doing now) for grandparents - in order to give you a clearer idea as to any complexities you may come across, for your own personal situation. Then begin to contact legal bodies and individuals, that will be able to advise you and point you in the right direction -  bodies and individuals, such as your local legal aid office, paralegals etc.

Then if you find that your particular circumstance needs you to compile a case, you should then be finding and going to see an established attorney (preferably with custody case experience) who will advise you through the legal system and tell you in-depth what you can do, and they will obviously be able to help compile a case(s) for you to gaining custody of the child, if needs be. 

Briefly, here are some of your rough-potential options to you as grandparents:

(Please bare in mind different states will have different laws, this is why it is important to get in touch with legal professionals, such as paralegals for up to date, detailed, accurate information and advice).

  • Applying for "Temporary Custody of the grandchild" - this is often where the parent(s) of the child or children will grant custody for a period of time, for the grandparent(s) to take custody of the child via a temporary-guardian document, that is then cleared through the court..
  • "Filing a Guardianship form" - where the grandparent(s) will send a guardianship document, again this is done mostly with the parent(s), backing the document. Then the judge will decide as to the outcome, depending usually on the suitability of the grandparent(s) acting as suitable 'guardian(s)'. (Free guardianship and temporary custody forms can be found on the internet - individual to each state).
  • If the rights parental rights have been 'terminated' this can then lead onto the allowance of "being appointed as permanent Guardian, through the means of adoption" for the grandparent(s) in which they may need to prove that they have the 'best interest of the child' - but if the parents were deceased and they had consented the grandparents to adopt then it can be done in a few weeks. There are also avenues in which a grandparent can become a co-guardian.

Note: 'Best interests of the child' are things such as - the ability that you have as a grandparent(s) to apply the needs of the child(ren), the relationship that exists between grandchild(ren) and grandparents and so on.

Be sure to conduct more research into applying for custody of your grandchild and get in touch with professionals - the content in this article is no way a substitute for legal advice and may contain inaccuracies.