Ask A Lawyer: Can Grandparents Get Full Custody?


My wife and I are retired, very stable, and very happily married. Our son and his ex-wife are divorced and not stable in any way ranging from employment to psychological. Can we as grand-parents get full custody of their child?

We have been helping raise the child since birth, taking him for weeks at a time while they get it together, get out of jail, get their meds straight, etc.  What are the first steps toward doing this?

We are just worried about both parents’ history of making bad and dangerous decisions, but we don’t want to risk that our granddaughter might end up with a foster family.



You need to consult an attorney in your jurisdiction as custody and guardianship guidelines vary from state to state.  Your attorney should consider a guardianship action that will allow the child to reside with you and being appointed as your grandchild’s guardian will give you the ability to make decisions regarding the child.  Guardianships generally stay in place until they are terminated.

You may also be able to file some type of custody proceeding to request custody of the child; you would be considered a third-party custodian.  If the state is involved, you may be able to assert your custodial request in the state action.  The state will typically consider placement with a family member before a child will be placed in foster care.


Tiffany A. McFarland is a Senior Attorney and Litigation Manager with Cordell & Cordell, P.C. in the Overland Park, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri offices. Ms. McFarland practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. 

Tiffany is licensed in the state of Missouri and the state of Kansas and is certified as a Guardian ad Litem.

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2 comments on “Ask A Lawyer: Can Grandparents Get Full Custody?

    Grandparents rights
    I currently live in New York State. Me and my husband are very stable and very happily married. Now my son and his ex girlfriend just had a baby this month. She tells him out of the blue she is moving to North Carolina. When she gave birth there were drugs found in her system as well as the babys system. She has an open ACS case and she has been assigned to do a drug program all in New York. My questions are can she just move with notifying anyone dealing with her case? Is it considered kidnapping if the father does not consent to his children moving? How can me and my husband (the grandparents) seek custody?

    hi i have a stitutaion, my daughter is not taking good care of our grandson. she is sending him to daycare with nit the proper food, sometimes not the raight clothing. daycare said they would go to cps but they gave me an option to get custody of him and they would go to cps. she is always yelling at him, cussing him out, feeding him only mirowave food,she hasn’t yet potty trained him and he is four. she hits him on the back of the head. sits on him to give him medicane. she only cares about herself and not staying home always spending nights at freinds houses, she ignores him, while she plays on the computer or her video, and foesn’t bath him on a regular bases. how can we get custody of our grandson.

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