Kinship care is when grandparents or other extended family, step in and take care of children. This can happen if, for any reason, the parent is unable to provide for the child. It may be due to the loss of one’s job, problems with drug or alcohol abuse, or other circumstances that would not make it possible for them to provide proper care to their children.
Parents may approve or even encourage kinship care by obtaining an uncontested court order or through a formal entrustment reflecting their custody arrangement. Without this, grandparents may have some difficulty making important decisions regarding the child’s health care and education.
Virginia passed a law in 2013 to simplify kinship care, allowing the providers to be able to enroll children in the local school district in the neighborhood where they live. All that is needed is an affidavit signed by the child’s parents, describing their agreement to the alternative care, custody arrangements, and any other information necessary.
There may be instances, however, when parents will deny grandparents contact with the children, for whatever reason. In Virginia, there are currently no laws that explicitly grant certain rights to grandparents, or any other relative for that matter. The law strongly favors the rights of parents over non-parents. Nonetheless, grandparents may still request custody or visitation under special circumstances.
If you have any question about grandparents’ rights, child custody, or any other related family law matters, please do not hesitate to reach out to Davies, Barrell, Will, Lewellyn & Edwards, PLC to request an appointment.