Kinship Guardianship: What to Know For Grandparents Who Have Legal Custody of Their Grandchildren

Grandmother holding granddaughter by a front window

Grandparents who care for their grandchildren on a full-time basis are able to obtain custody of their grandchildren under New Mexico law. The term for this type of custody is Kinship Guardianship and allows for grandparents to have legal and physical custody of their grandchildren when the parents of the children are not able or willing to care for them. This is most often seen when the children have been living with their grandparents for an extended period of time due to their parents not being involved.

Requirements for Kinship Guardianship in New Mexico Law

To meet the requirements set by New Mexico law for Kinship Guardianship, the grandparents must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The children have lived with the grandparents without either parent for at least 90 days;
  • One parent lives with the grandparents and children and consents to the kinship guardianship;
  • One parent, whose parental rights have been terminated or suspended, lives with grandparents and children;
  • A Guardian has not already appointed.

If these requirements are met, the grandparents can petition the Court for temporary guardianship until it can be determined whether permanent kinship guardianship is in the best interests of the children.

When Grandparents Should Petition for Temporary Guardianship

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to proceed with petitioning the court for temporary guardianship. If your grandchildren need to be seen by a doctor or need to be enrolled in school, documentation of temporary guardianship (and eventually permanent kinship guardianship) will help with these processes.

This process may seem daunting, but with the help of a family law attorney, it is a straightforward process that can help you effectively care for your grandchildren.

If you have additional questions about kinship guardianship, contact your attorney or call our office at 505-872-0505 to schedule an appointment.