Legal relationships recognized in a court of law are adoption, guardianship, certification as a foster parent, and powers of attorney. Custody agreements vary depending on how much a grandparent wants to be involved in a child's care. It is important for grandparents to understand the legal and financial implications of these relationships:
- Adoption means all rights and obligations of the child's parents are terminated. This is often a difficult decision because grandparents must acknowledge their son or daughter is an unfit parent.
- Guardianship may be either permanent or temporary.
- Certification as a foster parent qualifies the grandparent for financial benefits on a level with other foster parents.
- Powers of attorney allow grandparents to make decisions regarding the grandchildren, but they do not transfer legal custody.