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More Illinois grandparents step up for child custody

Many grandparents envision enjoying their grandchildren as just that; grandchildren. However, a growing number of grandparents are finding themselves as a primary caretaker, stepping up where their children stepped out. One Illinois grandmother takes care of not one but three of her grandchildren. For those caring for their grandchildren, it can be difficult to understand and establish legal rights without first establishing child custody.

One 59-year-old Illinois grandmother spends her days caring for her three children. She became their primary caretaker after they were separated from her daughter. However, she was faced with new and different challenges than she faced raising her own daughter. With the inundation of electronics into daily life, she took it upon herself to join a support group that helped her to learn to navigate a computer and apply for the proper assistance.

According to another grandmother, it is often a difficult legal road to caring for grandchildren. Program coordinator for a support group for grandparents thrust into the role of parent, she points out that most courts continually favor children's birth parents. Despite the fact that many grandparents care for their grandchildren due to substance abuse or divorce, finding their legal footing can be a daunting and scary prospect.

For one Illinois grandmother the burden was eased by a support group that helped her learn her legal rights when it came to her grandchildren. Sadly, many grandparents who find themselves as the primary caretaker for their grandchildren are unsure of what step to take next and what resources they are entitled to. Establishing child custody in a family law court is the first step to protecting legal rights and opening up the door to assistance in a new and uncertain time.

Source: The Telegraph, Grandparents take on changing role, Stephen Di Benedetto, Nov. 14, 2013

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