Grandparent’s Social Security

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Elder Law Attorneys John and Lisa discuss Social Security and how it is affected by grandchildren.

John

Hey everybody. We're about to go live for another edition of Aging Insight. Should be a good show. So, I'll let you listen to the opening intro.

John

Welcome to Aging Insight everybody. This is your host, John Ross, here live in the studio. Another day to bring you quality information about getting older, and living in retirement, and protecting your family, protecting yourself, protecting your assets, it's what we do.

Lisa

Yeah, it is what we do. And I was looking at the calendar John, and this August, it'll be five years that we've been coming into the studio, on nearly every Saturday.

John

Just about every Saturday.

Lisa

Yeah, nearly.

John

Although we probably, we won't make it in next time.

Lisa

Yeah, I don't know. Next weekend here in Texarkana, on May 5th, is the big Texarkana Wine Festival.

John

The twice as fine Texarkana Wine Festival.

Lisa

It's the fourth annual twice as fine.

John

That's right.

Lisa

On May 5th.

John

That's right. The caption for this year's wine festival is Un4gettable.

Lisa

You know, and I guess my other deal is, just like with anything else, if it's in the rules, I mean, you're not...

Lisa

Oh, I see what you did there.

Lisa

Yeah.

John

Yeah. You like that?

John

Un4gettable. And of course the Texarkana Wine Festival is in large part...I mean, this is the biggest fundraiser for the Tri-State Alzheimer's Alliance, which serves our local community, and helps people that are dealing with this disease, they are caregivers. They provide support. This money helps fund our place which is the Alzheimer's Alliance Day Respite Center, where folks can take a break from caregiving, and the person that they're caring for can be entertained for a day.

Lisa

Yes. Kinda like day care for your loved one with Alzheimer's. They're taken care of.

John

Yeah. Except they're having a lot more fun.

Lisa

Yeah. They are having fun. I've been there.

John

But, you know, it's a great resource out there. And all of that, you know, all the money that is raised in this wine festival, this money stays right here in Texarkana, supporting your community. It's just fantastic, even if you're not a wine drinker.

Lisa

Yeah. If you do not partake of the wines and spirits, that's okay. There's still stuff for you to come out and enjoy.

John

Yeah. There's gonna be a bunch of art vendors out there, there's gonna be a bunch of food vendors. And even if you're not a...just a...Maybe you're not opposed to alcohol, you're just not much of a wine person, the Alzheimer's Alliance will have a beer tent for the beer drinkers.

Lisa

Oh, okay.

John

It's a great event. You can come out. It's free. It's at Spring Lake Park, next Saturday. It's free to come out, and you can listen to music, you can check out the food vendors, and the art vendors, and all that. If you want to come into the wine garden, I think we're gonna have upwards of about 20 different wineries this year, more than last year.

Lisa

Yeah. Those are all Texas wineries as well.

John

All Texas wineries. And there's a small entry fee to get into the wine garden. I think it's, like, $10 dollars.

Lisa

Ten bucks.

John

You get a couple of wine glasses. And from there you can go around and have samples of the different wineries. You'll have the opportunity to buy bottles if you find one you like.

Lisa

Yeah. I really like the fact, John, that you made sure our listeners know that, every single dollar raised through this wine festival event stays in our area. Because, you know, I mean, there's lots of great charities out there, lots of affiliates in our area that affiliate with, you know, national charities. But, you know, a portion of some of those other fundraisers and other charities, some of that goes to national headquarters, or to research purposes far away. But this particular fund raiser, Alzheimer's Alliance Wine Festival, every dollar stays right here.

John

No, that's right now. This is staying right here.

Lisa

I hope the Alzheimer's Alliance Detective Director is not listening, and thinking that she needs to ask for a raise.

John

Yes. Now, it's a great program. I will say that, you know, one of the one of the neat things that we do, and it's not too late, but this Friday, the night before the event.

Lisa

Okay. So, Friday night, on May the 4th.

John

That's right. We have a private party for all of our VIPs.

Lisa

Yes. So, if you're a VIP donor or supporter to the Tri-State Alzheimer's Alliance, then you get a special invite to a Friday night buffet.

John

That's right. And it's great food. And one of the neat things we do there is, we have these wine barrels that have been given to local artists. They have them turned around and turned those wine barrels into something cool.

Lisa

Okay. So these wine barrels have been re-purposed.

John

They've been repurposed. That's right. And the wine barrels, my father and I, and by that I mean mostly him, I came up with the creative design initially, and have done some marketing.

Lisa

But the execution is all his.

John

The execution is all his. If you wanna take a look at our wine barrel this week, you can swing by Twisted Fork Restaurant, right over there on Summerhill Road. Right as you walk in the front door, the wine barrel is over on the left hand side. And of course if you're...For those of you who are on Facebook, you can get on Facebook and check this out, where we're doing this live, and I'm showing pictures of the wine barrel that we've done. It's really mean. It's kind of a bar-height table, with this big flame that's blowing out of the top on it. It's pretty fancy.

Lisa

And what is the name of this barrel?

John

We've named it Diablo Del Fuego.

Lisa

Diablo Del Fuego.

John

Yes, which roughly translates into Fire Devil.

Lisa

I see. Well, and so, John, you can go see the wine barrel at Twisted Folk this week. But if you would like to own Diablo Del Fuego how could you do that?

John

That's right. If you want that, you have to be one of our VIPs. Reach out to me, it's $500. It's the minimum sponsorship for the wine festival. And again, this is...Yeah, you're going to come to a great party with great food, and all the wine, and beer.

Lisa

And that's Friday night.

John

On Friday night. Plus you're gonna get VIP tickets into the wine garden, and all kinds of other things. And you get that for...500 bucks gets you two of that. It's two folks. That's the only way you're gonna get shot at my barrel. So check it out.

Lisa

Yeah. Hey, you know, last minute money still spins, is that right?

John

That's exactly right. Plus you're just gonna wanna shot at this barrel. It's awesome.

Lisa

Yeah. So, I would say that this barrel...I would say, you know, there's certainly an artisanal aspect to it. But I would go more with a craftsmanship aspect.

John

That's right. Yeah. It's pretty neat.

Lisa

So, shout out to John K. Ross III, who was the craftsman.

John

That's right.

Lisa

And John we'll give you a pat on the back for your creative idea, and your promotion. Great job.

John

Yeah, absolutely. You know, on the course we've been out running our miles this week. I came back from Tyler yesterday. Speaking of Alzheimer's, I was one of the big presenters at the Smith County Alzheimer's Alliance down in Tyler, their big annual caregiver conference down there. It was great, a couple of 100 folks in attendance. They got some good information from me, if I do say so myself.

Lisa

You do say so. Oh, great. And then I know this past Thursday we had our quarterly Eggs and Issues breakfast out at Trinity Baptist Church in Texarkana Arkansas side.

John

Yeah. Got to see all my friends.

Lisa

Yeah. If you weren't there you missed it. But we had about 60 folks out there come enjoy breakfast. And again, here John run his mouth. But we will be back in, I believe August, is that right?

John

No, I'm not sure.

John

John

When it gets closer we will let you know.

Lisa

Yeah. We'll let you know.

John

That's right. All right. So we were gonna talk about few things. And part of this topic today, we are gonna talk about grandparents and stuff like that. But what kinda spurred the idea on me is in our immense preparations prior to doing the radio show every day. And by that, I mean scrolling on my phone on the drives.

Lisa

To the radio station.

John

To the radio station.

Lisa

Oh, come on, we do better than that.

John

Yeah. But I read an article. It was talking about the $15,000 bonus that Donald Trump gets from the Social Security.

Lisa

Oh, and I bet y'all know why.

John

Yes. I mean, you might be saying, okay, here's Donald Trump, right? He's a billionaire.

Lisa

Yeah, he's a billionaire.

John

Now, of course, your entitlement to Social Security has nothing to do with your net worth, right? You've paid into the system.

Lisa

Yeah. If you've paid in then...

John

You get back.

Lisa

That's right.

John

And so it doesn't matter. Now, if you have a lot of other money, other income, things like that, then a portion of your Social Security...

Lisa

May be taxed.

John

May be taxed up to 80%.

John

But you still get it. Now, why would a billionaire like Donald Trump be getting even more, an extra $15,000 a year, in extra Social Security?

Lisa

But you still get it.

Lisa

Okay. Well, let me say. I'm gonna play 20 questions. So, how old is Donald Trump?

John

I don't know, but he's over 65.

Lisa

He's over 65 receiving Social Security, right?

John

So, he's reached full retirement age, so he's getting Social Security, yeah?

Lisa

Okay. Donald Trump is also a father of a number of children, is that right?

John

He is.

Lisa

From various wives, over the course of his lifetime. But how old is his youngest child?

John

Yeah. Barron Trump. What about...

Lisa

Twelve?

John

Twelve. Something like that.

Lisa

Okay. So, I'm guessing that that has something to do with the bonus from Social Security.

John

Ding, ding, ding, ding, yeah. That's exactly right. You know, if you if you are receiving Social Security, and you have a minor child, then you get extra money from Social Security.

Lisa

Yeah. Because you're you are still supporting a minor child.

John

Yeah, that's exactly right. And I was going to see if I could pull up this article because this is a relatively small percent. But approximately 1.1% of Social Security retirees are getting this additional fund because they have a minor child.

Lisa

Right. And so, most of us think about this in the sense of a parent who had a child, you know, obviously maybe a little bit older. You know, I bet you that 1.1%, as far as natural parents, is mostly fathers doing that.

John

You're probably right. crosstalk 00:12:42. And you know what? You may say, well, you know, 1.1% that's a pretty small deal, right? But that 1.1%, and I'm not talking about...I'm just talking about the money that they get for having the minor child. That ranks up to $5.5 billion per year. So, yeah, and somebody like Trump here with a minor child, he is getting this money. But, you know, I don't know that Trump needs the extra money.

Lisa

He probably doesn't.

John

But you know what? I've had a number of senior clients who either have minor children, or what I see more often is that they have gotten into possession of some minor children.

Lisa

Right. And so that's definitely the biggest segment that we see, where we have grandparents, who for whatever reason are now really thrust back into the role of being a primary caretaker for their minor grandchildren.

John

Or great grandchildren in a couple of cases.

Lisa

Or great grandchildren. And now, just because you're a grandparent, and you're on Social Security, and you are caring for a minor child, grandchild, or great grandchild, you don't get any Social Security bonus for that.

John

Right, no.

Lisa

In fact, I met with the lady last week or a week before, and now she is essentially raising her great grandson. She is 81, her great grandson I believe is 12. They are making it on her small Social Security payment.

John

Right. But not her child.

Lisa

Right. She doesn't get any extra for having the child. But, John, we discussed that she could.

John

That sounds like something we can talk about here after a break maybe.

Lisa

Sure.

John

All right. We'll take a break. When we come back, we will keep talking about this. Stick around.

John

Lisa

You know, and I did have another case where the father, the actual biological father of the child was on Social Security, and the child was 16, something like that. And he was getting extra money for that child which was going essentially to his ex-wife for child support purposes because there was inaudible 00:15:24. And so, essentially in that case, Social Security was paying the child support. You know, seems a little off.

John

It does seem a little off.

John

It does. So, you know, but Social Security rules can be a little complicated.

Lisa

But that happens.

John

You're not tricking the system.

Lisa

Yeah. You're not tricking the system. And you not being a murderer by not accepting a benefit that is already available to you for which you qualify in the rules. So, you know, it was distasteful to know that essentially taxpayer dollars were going to essentially pay the child support on this child. But, you know, there wasn't any shenanigans that's just the deal. Essentially the dad didn't get to keep the Social Security, it actually went to the other parent, the mother, who was in fact providing for the child. So, I mean, I'd rather it go that way but...

John

Yeah. And, you know, this is different than, you know, like the Social Security benefit that a minor child gets because their parent has died.

Lisa

Yes.

John

That's a whole different deal. And in fact, in those cases, where maybe a parent has died, and the child is receiving a Social Security benefit, if that child gets adopted, I think that can have an impact on their continued eligibility for that survivor Social Security benefit. Now, if you get the...We probably should mention this when we get back. Do you get it all...It's not all the way to 18 now, right? It's 16.

Lisa

No, I think they get it...

John

Is it all the way to 18? I'm not sure. Now, the survivor benefit, I know comes all the way to 18.

Lisa

Yes. So does the minor child.

John

Does it?

Lisa

Yes.

John

All right. I take your word for it.

Lisa

Okay.

John

All right. So looks like we've got about 30 more seconds until we get back live on radio. Give me a chance to get a sip of water. My speech yesterday was an hour, and then I had an hour-long panel discussion. By the time I got done my mouth tasted like a desert.

Lisa

Well, you were sharing the stage with the physicians and...

John

Oh yeah, the big cheese. All right. Here we go.

Lisa

Well, welcome back everyone. This is Lisa Shoalmire. And you are listening to Aging Insight. We are a great source, I would say best source of information in our area for all things, all topics that have to do with retiring, and all the things that can affect you in retirement.

John

Right.

Lisa

And now, it's easy to say, well, why don't you just adopt your great grandson? Well, obviously, John, there's some screwy issues going on in the family if great grandma is raising this young man.

John

That's probably right, yeah.

Lisa

And so, you know, for an adoption to take place, you know, in the state of Texas, at least as it is right now as far as I know, you can only have a maximum of two parents. Is that right? Is that still right?

John

Yeah. Well, as a minor child, yes.

Lisa

As a minor, yeah. But I think, you know, there's other states with all the fertilization, and in vitro. I think there's stuff going on about you can have more than two parents. But at least in Texas, you can only have two parents.

John

Right. Which on her, I mean, that's a lot of money.

Lisa

Yeah. She ain't no Donald Trump, so she can definitely...they live way out, and just driving him into school and everything. The preferred school campus he goes to, you know, it takes up gas. It's just...We all know how expensive it is to live. And the idea of Social Security of course is that you're not really responsible for young people, and meeting all their needs. But here this lady is. And she's not the only one in that spot.

John

No. There's lots and lots of folks out there who are caring for that grandchild, or the great grandchild. And, yeah, this access to Social Security through something like an adoption, that extra money can be huge. It can also do some other things, because, you know, right now, like this minor child would get...You know, there would be some extra money. But if they did do the adoption, and your 85-year-old client passed away.

Lisa

Right. Then, their legal parent would have died, and that child would get survivorship benefit for quite a while.

John

Exactly.

Lisa

You know, And I do know in the years I have been doing this, I know I've done a couple of grandparent adoptions. Not necessarily...I think one was very much due to the financial assistance that Social Security could bring to the situation. And I think a few of the others I have done, have been simply because the grandparents were formalizing the arrangement they already had, and they really didn't need any extra Social Security money.

John

That's right. But you know, this kinda leads into the question of, what kind of rights do those grandparents have? Even if they're in possession of that child, or even if they have this great relationship with the child, what kind of rights do they have? You know, in maybe, kind of a tough situation like your lady, sounds like, what kind of rights do you have if the grandkids are just staying with you this summer? You know, they're just doing their two weeks with grandma. Well, we're gonna talk about all of those sort of things for the remaining hour of the show, or the remaining half hour of the show.

Lisa

Half hour.

John

But of course we have to take our bottom of the hour newsbreak right here. And so, stick around. We'll be right back.

Lisa

Well, John, I remember be talking to this lady. And, you know, we ourselves are in the last few weeks of the senior year of a couple of teenagers. And we were talking on the way here to the radio station that that, you know that's just throwing money on everything, graduation gowns, pictures, invitations, there's just college applications. I mean, it's just...every time you turn around there's something else to spend money on. That doesn't even cover events like prom, and those kind of things.

John

Yeah. You know, I was thinking about it. You know, let's just kinda, let's say maybe we go back in time, right? And let's say that, you know, because my parents have been full retirement age for about seven years-ish, right there. So let's just say, if we went back seven years ago, and went ahead and terminated my parental rights, had the parents adopt the kids, right?

Lisa

Okay. That is fine. But what if we do that, $10,000 a month?

John

This is extra Social Security money, right? This $10,000 a year, we throw that into a separate account. And, you know, these teenagers that are graduating right now, they have $70,000, $80,000.

Lisa

You're just mad you didn't think of it then.

John

And think about it, for the one that's still 16. They got another couple of years. They have $70,000 right now. They have $100,000 to $110,000.

Lisa

Yeah. I never thought of that.

John

And, you know, if your parents are quite a bit older, where maybe even at birth, your parents are already over full retirement age, you could do that from the day the child was born, and by the time they graduated from high school, it's a quarter million dollars.

Lisa

Bring an idea.

John

I like this. It's possible, we have discovered an entirely new practice area to exploit. I like this, extreme family planning.

Lisa

Yeah, well.

John

But you know what, it's all in the rules.

Lisa

It is all in the rules. That's why you...

John

Might be a little...

Lisa

Yeah, might be a little sketchy.

John

Maybe pushing the boundaries just a little. But, hey, I don't know. I'd probably take that $70,000.

Lisa

It's a inaudible 00:27:29. I mean, you already got the naming rights. I mean, you know, the kids was born, you named the kid.

John

Right. So, yeah, I already named him. And of course, again, if I'm their legal guardian, then I'm still making all their decisions.

Lisa

And you are responsible for them.

John

Not to mention the fact that because the child was under a guardianship, by the time they get to college, then neither my parents, nor my assets are gonna factor into their eligibility for student aids.

John

So, we've gotten all this Social Security money, plus they're gonna qualify for all the Pell Grants and everything, and have all of this money here available for college expenses. I like this. I'm just finding more and more things I like about this whole idea.

Lisa

That's true.

Lisa

Now, you just need a guinea pig it right.

John

I do. I need a guinea pig. So, if somebody is watching this and they say, "Hey, you know what, you know, there's a kid coming. I like this idea. Let's try it." And what have you got to lose, right? If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But it's all within the rules. This could be tens of thousands of dollars.

Lisa

That your kids have to be millionaires before they ever turn 18.

John

That's exactly right. Wow. How about that? All right. We've got about 10 seconds, and we're back on.

John

Welcome back to Aging Insight everybody. This is John Ross, here in the studio, with Lisa Shoalmire. Today, we're talking about grandparents. And we started out by pointing out that Donald Trump gets extra 15,000 bucks a year because he has a minor child.

Lisa

Yeah.

John

And if you were out there, and you're caring for a minor child...

Lisa

And you're full Social Security retirement age.

John

And you are full retirement age, you know, you could also be getting the same thing if that child that you're caring for is legally your child. But there's only one way for a person to become legally your child, and that is an adoption.

Lisa

Yeah. In that situation, John, a guardianship or...guardianship or conservatorship, I don't think counts.

John

No, and this is...And, you know, doing an adoption is not as simple as it might sound. Parent rights are a pretty serious deal.

Lisa

Yeah. You know, basically, if we look at our hierarchy of rights, John. Our highest right, at least once we're born, is that we get to continue to breathe and walk around, and the government is not supposed to hinder us. Okay. That's probably a whole other show.

John

Right. Probably.

Lisa

All right. Our second right, really, is to parent our children...to have children and to parent our children in a way that we individually see fit.

John

Right. And the issue of a parent's rights to make decisions related to their children is an issue that has gone all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, in one of these seminal cases, Troxel.

Lisa

Yes. And this case actually came out, John, in the year 2000, which was a couple of years after I graduated from law school. But the Troxel versus Granville case is the case when it comes to grandparent rights. And it's very, very unusual for a case about family law issues, you know, divorces, custody, visitation, to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

John

Right. You know, the Supreme Court deals with big federal issues, issues that have constitutionality at their very core. Or the interpretation of federal laws, particularly addressing issues between federal courts. And divorce got nothing to do...parents rights, grandparent...You know, family law generally speaking, has nothing to do with federal law.

Lisa

Yeah. Typically the topic areas you will see covered only by states, and not all addressed by the Supreme Court, are things like family law, probate law, wills, and things like that. Those are all within a state system of laws, and not within the federal government. But, I won't go into all that procedural history of how this case eventually landed in the U.S. Supreme Court. But essentially, you know, we had a inaudible 00:32:22, you know, there was a mommy and daddy. That's how it's started.

John

Is this the inaudible 00:32:28.

Lisa

Yes. Anyway, there was a mom and dad, although they never married, they did have two children together. And then at some point the mom and dad, they broke off their relationship, but the dad did get visitation rights with the two, I think there were two daughters. And so he continued to regularly exercise those visitation rights with his two minor children.

John

Right. So the kids are with the grandparents?

Lisa

Yes. So, the kids are spending lots of quality time with grandparents. Well, at a certain point the father committed suicide.

John

That's rough.

Lisa

So, now we have a deceased parent, and the only living parent of these two daughters, these two young girls was their mother. And for a while after their father died, the mother continued the visitation scheme, I guess you would say with the grandparents, with the paternal grandparents. But then the mother finally decided that she wanted to cut that off. So she told the grandparents, "Hey, look, instead of this every other weekend business, I'm gonna let the girls come one Saturday a month for a daytime visit only." Well, if you were the grandparents, you'd have this kind of relationship with your grandchildren.

John

I'd probably be upset about it.

Lisa

You know, you've lost your son, and you had these two little girls that are just your, you know, your link to your son. And you've been around them and with them for so long. So the mother said, "No more weekend visits, just one Saturday a month." So the grandparents didn't like this, and they filed suit to re-establish weekend visitation.

John

Wow.

Lisa

And they asked for two weekends a month, and two weeks in the summertime.

John

Okay. Seems fair enough.

Lisa

And this all happened in Washington State. And the original court that this landed in granted the grandparents wish, and what they asked for, and said, "Yes, it's clear there's a history here of a lot of contacts with these grandparents, these grandparents are an important part of these young girls' lives. There's a big extended family on the paternal side that they will benefit from." So the local trial court was all favorable to the grandparents. But then the mom appealed, and she said, "Wait a minute. This is interfering with my rights to make decisions for my children."

John

Right. Her...essentially constitutional rights.

Lisa

Right. So the appellate court in Washington State agreed with her. I think it went up to the Washington State Supreme Court. And I think there was just...Anyway, ends up...the grandparents appealed. And so, it eventually landed in the United States Supreme Court.

John

And was there a split in this?

Lisa

There was a split. It was a five, four decision.

John

Cool.

Lisa

But anyway, the Supreme Court came back and said that a parent, except for in extreme circumstances, has the absolute right to make whatever decisions they choose to make, including determining who their children associate with.

John

Wow. It's pretty much the end of it, you know, right there, isn't it?

Lisa

It's pretty much the end of it. And, you know, John, prior to the Troxel case, the state of Texas, the state of Arkansas, there was a lot of...

John

There were whole sections in the codes...

Lisa

About grandparents' rights.

John

About grandparents' rights, and under what circumstances a grandparent could petition for custody and things like that. All of which basically became null and void.

Lisa

Yeah, wiped out overnight. And I remember, John, it was probably three years after the Troxel Case, I represented a grandfather here in our community on the Arkansas side. And, you know, he had a grandson that he had basically been raising, and his son came back into the picture, and everything was good, right until that point the son asked his father for money. And the grandfather was like, "You're doing drugs, I'm not giving you any money." Well, then he took...

John

He said, "Well, then I'm taking the kid."

Lisa

That's right. He took the kid. We filed suit on the Arkansas side, and the judge was clearly sympathetic with my client, the grandparents, clearly.

John

Clearly.

Lisa

But said, on the Troxel Case, I cannot order you to have custody of that grandchild.

John

That's right. And so, yeah, I mean, the big thing here, the big takeaway at least is that, generally speaking, a grandparent does not have rights.

Lisa

Yes. So you start with the presumption. It's a big presumption that the grandparent has no rights, but there are a few cracks that you can slip through as a grandparent.

John

Yeah. Well, why don't we take one more break, we'll talk about some of those. And if we have time, we'll wrap it up with a few little things that maybe everybody, even the ones that aren't directly caring for a grandchild should think about when they get those grandkids over at the house. So stick around, we'll be back in just a second.

Lisa

Yes. Justice O'Connor announced the judgment of the court, in which...Well, Chief Justice Ginsburg, and Breyer joined...Hold on. Let me get to the bottom because they may have had some other opinions. Yeah, I can't find how it all split.

John

Anyway, but yeah that...You know, of course, that came out in 2000, I did not...just trying to think. I don't think I took a...

Lisa

Family law class.

John

Family law course in law school. But it seems like there was maybe in some of my wills and trust classes, or something like that, where this issue came in. And there was some discussion, because I was in law school...

Lisa

Wait, it was a six...Pinocchio. It was a six, three decision. I was wondering if we were inaudible 00:39:51. The only dissents were Stevens, Scalia, and Kennedy. I have to go back and read Scalia's dissents. He's always very cheeky.

John

Yes. A Scalia dissent is usually a fun read, if you're nerd enough to enjoy such a thing, which I am.

Lisa

Yeah. But that was a...Thomas wrote a concurrence, Souter wrote a concurrence. But, you know, that was a nice split between "liberal and conservative justices."

John

Yeah. Because if you've got Thomas on the...

Lisa

On the majority. And Scalia...

John

And Scalia. That's an unusual, you know, unusual situation.

Lisa

I think on the radio program, while we're watching the radio timing, they have a lot of public service announcements.

John

There are a lot of public service announcements.

Lisa

We have to get rid of the public service announcements and just do the show.

John

I agree.

Lisa

We are a public service.

Lisa

Yeah.

John

Yeah, that's right. They'll be paying us.

John

All right. Let's see. Well we still got about 30 seconds. We'll kinda get back into it a little bit. You know, for that case to go all the way to the Supreme Court, the interesting thing is who paid for all of that?

Lisa

Well, you know, and the other thing is that opinion came out in 2000. I think the original case was filed in 1991 or 1993.

John

Wow.

Lisa

So by the time the case went to the Supreme Court, those kids were almost grown.

John

Wow. Yeah. No kidding. Interesting. All right. A couple of seconds. Here we go.

Lisa

Welcome back everyone to Aging Insight, to our final segment today. I'm Lisa Shoalmire, here with John Ross.

John

Oh, I've heard that same thing. I had one, you know...I had a lady whose son said that if he wasn't appointed as her power of attorney that he wouldn't bring the grandchildren.

Lisa

Yup. You know, I've seen some parents who are, you know, jackwagons enough to actually do that.

John

Yes, bite your tongue.

Lisa

Yes, bite your tongue. You know, do you pay over the money, do your name as the POA. Probably not, but you know, the old "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" because the bottom line is, the law has got nothing for you. So if you don't, you know...

John

Right. Like the case you described earlier, where the, you know, the son wanted money, and when dad wouldn't give him the money, he took the kid.

Lisa

Yeah. You're just gonna have to figure what your limits are.

John

You're gonna have to figure out what your limits are. At what point, are you willing to say, no, I won't give you the money, knowing full well that child is gone.

Lisa

So that's my first piece of advice, is try to figure out a way forward that you can, you know, be agreeable enough so you can keep that relationship. And I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, but that's just where the law is.

John

Yeah. And how accurate is this?

Lisa

I would say, I would give him four Pinocchios. The information that Ken Paxton has listed on the Texas Attorney General website regarding grandparents' rights, is almost 100% percent wrong.

John

Yeah. There we go.

Lisa

And so the website says, "Oh, you have rights, and if the parent...If there's been a divorce, or this or that's happened, you can get this..." No, you can't. You just, you know, there's some very limited circumstances.

John

Then they're still living with the parent.

Lisa

They're still living with the parent, even if it's your house as the grandparent.

John

Right. And going back to, like, the facts of the Troxel Case, If maybe you have got the child living with you in your house because your child is up in the wind, but you're still maintaining a relationship with the other parent, who maybe has them on a weekend here, there, and stuff like that, you've got to understand that other parents, or his or her rights are still...That's the Troxel Case.

Lisa

Yeah. So, the other thing to keep in mind, John, that if your child...if their parental rights are terminated, then your rights as a grandparent are terminated.

John

You know, that's one that a lot of folks, I don't think necessarily realize.

Lisa

And so, you know, I've had a lot of grandparents come to me that they are just really in angst over a situation going on with their child who is a parent, and the other parent did...And, you know, they told me, "Hey, my child's a screw up. I get that. And, you know, they're on drugs, or they're crazy, or whatever is going on with them. But we have this precious grandchild. And so, I wanna go fight for this grandchild."

John

Now, that must be..is a part of the soldier, sailor's relief act? Or is that a whole different deal?. You don't know?

Lisa

I don't know.

John

You just know it's out there.

Lisa

Yeah. I know it's out there. Also in any case, if the biological parents of the child filed from divorce from each other, you as the grandparent can intervene. Like, you know, because I've had cases where the grandparent comes to me and say, "You know my kid's a screw up but so is the other parent. And now, they are getting divorced, and I'm just really worried about my grandchild, and what's gonna be happening here." The grandparent, because there's already an active case of divorce, the grandparent can file an intervention.

John

That's right.

Lisa

So things like that. So get good advice. If you're a grandparent, and you need to...And you're looking at all this, do not just go to the lawyer on the street corner that says they do family law, and I'll draft your will, and defend you in a DWI. Grandparents' rights is a super tricky area.

John

It is. And you know, and again, you know, some people are in that situation, but I would say what's much more common, is just that the grandparents...You know, you're the grandparents, you've got the kids, they're over maybe for the weekend, maybe they're hanging out with you for two weeks and during the summer. You know, when I was a kid, my grandparents had a house on Lake Granbury, right outside of Fort Worth. And I used to go, spend about two weeks every summer, water skiing, swimming out in the lake, we always stayed...It was always at least one trip to Six Flags.

Lisa

I see. And you thought that was big fun for you. Really your parents were like, you know, "He's gone for two weeks."

John

He's gone. But you know, water skiing, in fact what usually would happens is, you know, I'm not somebody that tans well.

Lisa

Yes. Maybe, a lot of folks have never realized it John, but you're kinda a redhead.

John

Yes, I am a redhead.

Lisa

Almost silver these days.

John

Yes. But I am a red head. And you put me in the sun for...oh, I don't know.

Lisa

About 10 seconds.

John

Ten seconds, maybe twelve and there's probably gonna be some sun burning. And so, I know one year, I got a really, really bad sunburn out there in Granbury, enough that, you know, I needed some medical treatment.

Lisa

Oh, that's bad you know.

John

I also at one time had an injury, out waterskiing, and hurt myself pretty good. So, you know, grandkids, they can injure themselves.

Lisa

Oh, yeah. So now you're a grandparent, let's say the parents, maybe the parents took an adult vacation without the kids, they are out of pocket. And you are enjoying your summer visit with your grandchildren. But now, somebody's fallen, they need stitches, we get to get...You know, you need a quick care visit. John, do your grandparents get to consent to medical treatment?

John

No. They sure don't. And that's, you know, that's a problem because, you know, if you look at like...You know, of course if it's an emergency context, and it's a life or death situation, the hospital don't need anybody to consent for nothing.

Lisa

Right. They can save the life.

John

They can always save the life. But when you're talking about non emergency medical treatment decisions, you know, you've got, I mean the first inaudible 00:52:12 child is the parent.

Lisa

Yeah. Whoever brings the kid in.

John

Right? And so, before you ever get to that, there are some things like, you know, doing something like a medical power of attorney.

Lisa

Yeah, a temporary medical care attorney, where a grandparent is listed as able to make decisions for that grandchild if the need arises.

John

That's right. So you know, when you're getting the kids, be sure to get a copy of the insurance card, but also do up a little emergency medical treatment consent form. It might be exactly what you need if there's a skinned knee that needs...

Lisa

A busted chin and some stitches.

John

That's exactly right. We had that exact one with a client who had one of our emergency medical treatment decision forms. So everything worked out smooth.

Lisa

Great. Good to hear.

John

All right. That's why you listen to this show. You get this good information. We will see y'all next time. Bye bye.

Lisa

Bye bye.

John

And goodbye to all of y'all out there in the interwebs.

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