With courts favoring biological parents in most custody cases, it can be a confusing road to determining whether a child would benefit from living with someone else. For a Mississippi grandparent to retain child custody -- even after years of caring for their grandchild -- serious misconduct would have to be proved on the part of the parent. However, this can be exceedingly difficult to prove.
There are many reasons that grandparents find themselves caring for their grandchildren. Whether it is due to their children's drug addictions or lack of maturity, stepping up to the plate is a serious undertaking that more and more grandparents are handling. However, the law is not always on their side.
Whether a grandparent acts as the sole caretaker -- both physical and financial -- for six months or for six years, the law will almost always side with the biological parent. Should they reappear and want their children back, there is little to stop them. Without absolute proof that a grandparent has retained sole care and custody, they are likely to lose their grandchildren, even if the parent is still unfit.
When caring for grandchildren, establishing child custody early on is the best course of action. For Mississippi grandparents acting as the sole caretakers of their grandchildren, doing this prevents unfit biological parents from claiming that the children are best cared for by them. Taking them away from the grandparents might be removing them from the only loving home they have ever known. For those caring for grandchildren, careful documentation of the time the children have remained under their care -- as well as contact or lack thereof with biological parents -- can be helpful when establishing child custody cases.
Source: Huffington Post, The 'F' Word in Family Law, Natalie Gregg, Dec. 3, 2013