Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 3, 2013 – More grandparents than ever are raising their children’s children.
It is estimated that close to 5.8 million children in the U.S. are living in their grandparents’ homes, and more than one million children are being raised by their grandparents. That means more than 2.5 million grandparents are currently head-of-household and parenting again.
The number of U.S. grandchildren who are being raised by one or more of their grandparents continues to rise. In 1991, the U.S. Census Bureau listed 1.7 percent of children in grandparent-as-parent homes; the number went up to 2.5 percent as of 2009.
“As more grandparents find they must raise their grandchildren, they face some unique challenges,” says Dallas elder law attorney John Hale. “When it comes to not only their disrupted lifestyle, but their economic status, as well, it can be a shock.”
According to the U.S. Census, as of 2009, more than 50 percent of households with children who were being raised by grandparents were living below the national poverty level. For grandparents who are on a fixed income due to retirement, the unexpected increase in cost-of-living expenses for additional food, clothing, childcare and education, can be overwhelming.
Some grandparents re-enter the workforce in order to help supplement finances, or delay their retirement plans. For grandparents who need some additional assistance, the AARP has put together state-by-state informational sheets to provide custodial grandparents with information on various resources available to them. AARP information sheets may be found here.
Beyond the financial issues of raising a child during the retirement years are the legal issues that must be addressed. Grandparents should have in their possession: their grandchildren’s birth certificates; the grandchildren’s social security numbers; the children’s parent’s death certificate, if applicable; up-to-date medical and immunization records; dental records; guardianship or custody documents; citizenship verification, if applicable; and school records.
Grandparents who are fully parenting the children need to have all legal documentation. There may be a time when it is important for the grandparents to have a Power of Attorney document or other legal documentation in their possession, as well. They are advised to work with an elder law attorney to ensure all paperwork is accounted for.
The Hale Law Firm
417 W. Main Street
Waxahachie, TX 75165