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The 21st century family involves more skipped-generation households

Over the past several decades, America has undergone a dramatic shift in the traditional family makeup. A married couple heading a household of 2.5 kids and a dog have become the minority. Today, many family structures encompass skipped generation households. But what exactly does this mean and what are the reasons behind the increase?

A skipped-generation household (often referred to as a custodial grandparent household) is one which includes solely a grandparent and grandchild. In 1970, the number of children living in skipped-generation households was 3 percent. In 2010, the percentage had spiked to 7 percent. And, today, it's even higher.

Researchers attribute the rise to financial reasons. The number of children living with grandparents spiked 16 percent during the "Great Recession" that began in the mid 2000s. The number rose from 2.5 million in 2005 to 2.9 million in 2010, a period where unemployment and foreclosures were at an all time high. Child endangerment and incarceration have also been cited as reasons behind the steady rise.

In many situations, the living arrangement is temporary. In others, the arrangement becomes extended and permanent custody arrangements are needed.

Grandparents looking to procure custody rights of grandchildren are encouraged to seek the help of an experienced family law attorney, one who is knowledgeable in the state seeking the adoption. State laws and procedures will vary.

Related post: More U.S. Children Raised by Grandparents

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