Family law in Oklahoma, and elsewhere, has become more complex. This is due, to some extent, to changes in the basic family structure. The stereotypical family of the 1950’s, as typified by Ozzie and Harriet or Leave it to Beaver, has changed to divorced families, single-parent families, same-sex couples and families headed by grandparents.
This means there are fewer easy answers or one-size-fits-all solutions to many family law issues. One example of this is the increasing presence of grandparents heading families. For many grandparents, the idea of retiring and moving somewhere to play shuffleboard is a nonstarter.
There are a many reasons for this. Some have had children with substance abuse and addiction issues. Others, incarceration and still others whose children have suffered the ill effects of the recession and were forced to move back, bringing their spouses and children. In some households, the grandparents may have a more substantial role with a guardianship for their grandchildren.
According to one study, nearly 5 million children live in households headed by grandparents. The AARP found that grandparents are the primary caregivers for 2.6 million children. And for some children, the only “parent” they know is their grandparent, with 1 million homes having no parents in the household.
In the case of a death a child or other loss of capacity, a grandparent may need to make their grandchildren’s custody permanent. For these grandparents, a guardianship can help them receive state benefits for the child and make decisions involving the child, such as medical treatment or where they attend school.
If you have questions concerning a potential guardianship, Tulsa family law attorney can answer them and help with determining when a guardianship is appropriate.