Grandparents as Legal Guardians of Grandchildren

grandparents guardianship

Category: Family Law

It certainly isn’t rare to find grandparents that are the legal guardians of their grandchildren. But there are many reasons why they end up being the guardians. It could be due to any one of a bunch of factors including death of parents, disability of parents, absence of parents or termination of parental rights.

If you are planning to seek legal guardianship of your grandchild or grandchildren, you should seek the guidance of a family law attorney. In the meantime, here is some pertinent information regarding the subject.

Legal Process in Florida

These steps are the proper way to go about seeking guardianship of grandchildren:

  1. Petition to Determine Incapacity: Establishes that the ward needs a guardian;
  2. Petition for Appointment of Guardian: Asks the court to appoint a guardian;
  3. Application for Appointment as Guardian: Asks the court to appoint you as the guardian.

How Long

Grandparents can be granted legal guardianship for the entire time that the grandchildren are considered minors. When they reach adulthood that guardianship will end. The guardianship can be extended, however, if the grandchildren have certain medical, financial or emotional needs.

Decision Making

Grandparents who are guardians are granted the ability to make decisions such as schooling, medical needs and financing for their grandchildren. The grandparent is also able to file for social security on behalf of the grandchildren. However, when it comes to legal name changing, that right only rests with the parents unless deceased.

Parental Right

Grandparent guardianship does not necessarily preclude parents from seeing their children. They have the right to do so unless otherwise instructed by the court. In fact, usually there is a schedule worked out voluntarily between the parents and grandparents for visitation. If this cannot be done, the court will create one.


Taking over guardianship for grandchildren can be a very challenging ordeal. It is recommended that legal council is hired from the start of this process. If you are in Brevard County and legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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