No, it doesn’t. That’s one of the reasons why the courts here generally look at a guardianship as opposed to custody. A grandparent getting custody of a grandchild does not terminate the parental rights of the parents. But when we look at our guardianship laws, our kinship guardianship laws, there are certain elements that have to be proved in order to be appointed temporary guardian of the grandchild. If you’re appointed temporary guardian, it’s only good for six months. You then have to go and convince the judge that the circumstances are still there, which means the child needs to be taken care of someone else. Under kinship guardianship, the parental rights are not terminated, they are suspended.
Mary Ann Burmester is a family lawyer practicing in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has more than 25 years of experience in family law. To learn more about Mary and her firm, NM Divorce & Custody Law LLC, visit www.nmdivorcecustody.com.