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How many grandparents have primary custody of their grandkids?

You, like so many other grandparents across the state of North Carolina and beyond, may have found yourself serving as a primary caregiver for your grandchildren. Depending upon the unique circumstances surrounding your case, one or both of your grandchildren’s parents may be unable or unfit to perform their parental duties. As you explore your legal options and rights over your grandkids, it can be incredibly helpful to keep in mind that you are not alone.

The AARP explains that there are a large number of reasons for grandparents to assume primary custody over their grandchildren. Many times, issues like mental illness, financial hardship, substance abuse and domestic violence can prevent parents from fulfilling their responsibilities. It is then up to grandparents in many cases to assume the role of primary caregiver once again. As of 2006, it was estimated that well over 4 million children were living in households headed by their grandparents. It was also found that around 7 percent of the children in North Carolina were being raised by their grandparents, and that neither parent was present in over half of all cases. In fact, over 5,000 Charlotte residents reported that their grandchildren lived with them on a full-time basis.

Such figures represent a 30 percent increase in grandparent-headed households from 1990 to 2000, and that number has likely increased in the past nine years. Of course, the specific circumstances surrounding your family and child custody concerns are unique and may not be reflected in the data provided above. However, it may still be useful to know that other families are confronted by similar family law issues.

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