NH becomes 1st state to favor grandparents as guardians

Jun 28, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

At a ceremony this week Gov. Sununu signed a bill that gives preference to grandparents for child custody if the parent is abusing drugs. 

According to bill sponsor Mariellen MacKay, the law is the first of its kind in the country.

Supporters of the bill argue that grandparents should be given special consideration in court because they are particularly aware of the needs of their grandchildren.  Before this bill, grandparents had no rights to advocate for their grandchildren in family court.

According to the nonprofit Every Child Matters, there are already more than 10,000 grandparents who are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren in New Hampshire.

Some argue this bill is unnecessary, since there were no specific laws preventing grandparents from getting custody.  Others express concern about the challenges for grandparents taking custody of young children, given the financial and health problems faced by many retirees. 

Gov. Sununu also signed a bill that establishes a commission to study families in which grandparents are raising their grandchildren in New Hampshire. 

Do you support giving grandparents preference in child custody cases?  Share your opinion in the comments.


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Representative, NH House of Representatives (2012 - 2014, 2016 - present); Transition Coordinator and Lead Legislative Liaison, Moore Center; Chair, State Rehabilitation Council; Chair, NH Council on Developmental Disabilities; President, Board of


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