It is a fact that we are seeing an increasing number of grandparents acting as primary caregivers for their grandchildren. According to U.S. Census data 6.1 million grandparents have grandchildren living in their home. Of that figure, 40 percent are the primary care providers for those children. As a family law practitioner, in the time I have practiced, I have seen an increase in the number of grandparents seeking custody and/or visitation with their grandchildren.
Although grandparental custody or visitation can only be awarded in certain limited circumstances in Kentucky, those limited circumstances seem to be occurring more and more regularly. The legal issues that face grandparents as primary care providers for grandchildren are numerous. Fortunately, the Bluegrass Area Development District, Bluegrass Area Agency on Aging, and Access to Justice Foundation Legal Helpline for Older Kentuckians has developed a Handbook for Kentucky Grandparents. This is a very useful resource that discusses the myriad of legal issues, benefits, and programs available to assist non-parent custodians. As with any such publication, it cannot replace the advice of an experienced lawyer who can give you counsel tailored to your specific needs, but it is an excellent resource nonetheless.