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Proceed With Caution: A Teenage Parent

Teenage Parents And The Law

Everyone knows a teenage parent. This is usually someone who accidently had a little fun during his or her teenage years and ended up with a beautiful bouncing baby. However, that teenager was likely feeling like his or her life had ended. Imagine being 16 years old and having another human being that you have to be responsible for. Living a normal teenage life cannot happen.
So what do many teenagers do in those situations? They turn to their parents for help. It might seem like a fantastic idea at the time, but teenagers need to be aware of the future issues that may arise in these situations.

What about health insurance?

Health insurance should be a big concern for underage parents. Unfortunately, most teenagers are probably not working full time jobs where they could qualify for employee based health insurance. Additionally, what 16-year-old is thinking about health insurance? Most 16-year-olds are children themselves, being taken care of by their parents. This leads to teenage parents asking their parents to help cover their children’s insurance. There are some problems with this.
Teenage parents should make sure that their parents are only putting their grandchild on their health insurance for simply that purpose, health insurance. Many grandparents see this as an opportunity to take advantage and control of the situation. Teenagers with children should look into other options. There may be the option of getting on a state funded medical plan. This would allow the teenager to continue being independent without his or her parent’s taking control.

“My parents want control of my child”

This brings us to our next point. Parents of teenagers who have children often want to take control of the situation. Parents feel that their teenager is too young and irresponsible to raise a child of their own. Those types of parents will want to ultimately raise their grandchild as their own. This can have detrimental effects on the teenager and his or her child’s relationship in the future.
Teenagers should be extremely careful of parents who want to become guardians of their grandchild. Parents may have good intentions at the beginning, but sometimes these intentions lead to the parents wanting to raise the grandchild as his or her own. Parents will sometimes tell their teenagers that they need to be the guardian of their grandchild so that the child can be put on a health insurance plan. However, as discussed above, this is not always a requirement. There are usually alternatives for health insurance, such as state funded health insurance.
If your parent becomes guardian of your child, it is important to understand that this guardianship could stay in place for some time unless you terminate it. It usually does not go away automatically. If it stays in place for years, your parents may then feel they have control of your child, and raise the child as your own, severely limiting your contact or parental rights over your own child.

What can I do?

Imagine your parents have guardianship of your child for several years. Now that you are no longer a teenager, you are much more responsible and want to raise your child without your parent’s involvement. You need to make sure that you have control of the situation. You also need to make it clear to your parents that they are not the parents, but are grandparents. Lastly, be sure to make sure there are not any guardianships still in place. If there are, you will need to file a Petition to Terminate Guardianship in the juvenile court. Until you do this, your parents will continue to have control of your child.
Be prepared for your parents to try and obtain grandparent’s rights, as well. If your parents have been heavily involved in raising your child, and you eventually cut him or her off, it is likely they will take you to family court and try to obtain rights for your child with set visitation schedules. The court will usually sway toward your side, because you are the legal parent, but do not be shocked if the court does give your parents some sort of set visitation with your child.
The big picture, here, is to make sure you are being very careful when giving your parents rights over your child, because you feel you are too young. Your parents can still be heavily involved with your child if you need the help. Your parents do not have to have legal rights over your child to be heavily involved, though.

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