If you are like most people in Wisconsin, you assume that once you have raised your kids and it is your time to be a grandparent, you should be all set to enjoy the most fun elements of watching a child grow. Sadly, there are some situations in which your adult child is not able to fulfill their parenting duties and you may choose to step in on their behalf. This can happen if your child dies, for example. Other times a person might struggle with a mental health condition or an addiction that leaves them incapable of effectively raising their kids.
As explained by AARP, if you are in the position of wanting to raise your grandchildren, you may have different levels of rights or responsibilities https://www.aarp.org/relationships/friends-family/info-08-2011/grandfamilies-guide-legal-issues.html based upon the designations involved and the level of rights retained by your adult child or the children’s other parent. The most sweeping level of rights and responsibilities you can have would be if you were allowed to legally adopt your grandchildren. In this situation, it would be as if you were the actual parent both physically and legally.
In other situations you may have either custody or guardianship. In each of these, your adult child may retain some legal rights and understanding who is allowed or required to do what will be essential.
If you would like to learn more about the different types of designations for grandparents who wish to step in and help raise their grandchildren, please feel free to visit the grandparent’s rights page of our Wisconsin child custody and family law website.