Sometimes, parenting doesn’t end when your children grow up. If your adult child is dealing with addiction or is otherwise unfit, your grandchild may need your help. The decision to seek guardianship of a grandchild is never an easy choice to make, but sometimes it’s the right choice for their wellbeing. If you’re faced with a situation where you have to take over parenting responsibilities from your child or their spouse, it’s important you know your options and have access to the legal help you need. Genus Law’s helpful guide to grandchild guardianship can give you an overview of the process, but for individualized help, call Genus Law at (505) 317-2700 to start solving your problem today.

New Mexico grandmother and grandfather smiling and sitting with their two grandchildren.

When Can I Get Custody of My Grandchild?


There are many reasons a grandparent may seek guardianship or custody of a child. Maybe the child has been left with you for an extended period of time and is already comfortable with you, maybe there are drug and substance abuse issues at home that you want to remove the child from. Whatever the reason, grandparent guardianship starts with filing a petition for temporary guardianship. You must be able to prove that neither parent of the child is willing or able to properly care for the child and that you have a close, personal relationship with that child. If there are physical abuse or drug issues, these allegations must be included in your petition so the judge is aware of the reasons for a custody evaluation. The judge will likely order drug tests or other verification steps in order to establish the facts. They may award you temporary guardianship of the child in the interim or they may allow the child to reside with the parent. If the child is in an extremely unsafe situation, you can file an emergency motion through your lawyer that will likely expedite the process and get you temporary custody until the facts are established. 


How Can I Get Custody if the Child Already Lives with Me?


Things are a bit easier if the child is already in your care. If your grandchild has been living with you for 90 days or more before filing, the court may be more likely to grant you temporary custody or refuse the parent’s attempts to take them from your care. You will still need to establish that fitness is an issue with the biological parents, but the court is unlikely to disrupt the status quo of the child if they are in a safe, stable and loving environment. Even if the parents are not trying to remove the child from your care, you will still need to establish guardianship over the child in order to make important decisions in the child’s life, for example, medical decisions or to enroll in school. Doing this as soon as possible can avoid potential delays in their care and education. 


Every case is unique and must be examined individually, but this overview of Albuquerque, New Mexico, grandparent custody rights can provide you a realistic expectation of the process. It’s important to note that the Judge’s discretion is a very big factor in custody cases, so having a lawyer who understands Albuquerque, New Mexico Custody laws and how Albuquerque family law judges operate is vital to the success of your case. If you need to gain custody of your grandchild, call Genus Law today to get the help you, and your grandchild deserves. 

Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, and Guardianship Lawyer Serving Albuquerque and Beyond