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New Adoption Law Helps Grandparents

Idaho

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By B. Cooper

It's not an easy situation when grandparents are fighting for custody of their grandchild with their own child.
Shawna Wasko from the College of Southern Idaho’s Office on Aging says many of the grandparents she sees didn't even try for custody because of the tension it causes.
"And by not having custody of the child, they weren't able eligible for some resources out there to help them raise these children and they just sort of lived under the wire."
But senate bill 1382 signed into law by Governor Otter amends the old law as he says it will keep families together.
In the past, grandparents had to prove the parent was 'unfit' to raise the child.
Wasko says now a family court judge can give custody to the grandparent or relative if they've had the child who's less than three years of age for at least six months.
And if the child is older than three, they must show they've had the child for more than a year.
"Therefore it's a lot cheaper, a lot easier and you don't have to prove that your child is abusive."
Wasko tells grandparents to document; keep day to day journals for groceries, doctor visits, even heating bills.
"Keep a really good record to show not only you had this child in your home and you were taking care of them, but you need to show that you were taking care of them financially as well."

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