Many grandparents pursue adoption when they feel as though their grandchildren are not receiving the care and support they should. Grandparent or family adoptions can happen for a lot of reasons—the child’s parents may pass away, become mentally or physically unable to care for their children, or be incarcerated. But grandparent adoptions also arise when one or both parents abuse, neglect, or otherwise mistreat the child.
How do I adopt a grandchild?
Grandparent adoption can go smoothly if all parties are in agreement, but it’s still best to start the process by talking to a Marietta grandparent custody lawyer. A grandparent adoption attorney can walk you through the possibilities, discuss the nuances of the child’s home situation, and advise you on the best course to take.
From there, the process typically starts with the grandparent seeking parental consent. If the parents acknowledge and accept that they are unable to care for the child, either because of substance abuse problems, incarceration, or other issues, and they prefer that the child ends up with family instead of potentially entering the foster care system, they can sign over their parental rights. The grandparents must show that they can provide a safe, stable home. In Georgia, if the child is 14 years or older, he or she must also consent to the adoption.
How do I get guardianship of my grandchild if the parents contest?
Of course, sometimes parents do not agree to the proposed adoption. In these cases, a grandparent adoption lawyer can help show that the parents are unable to adequately care for and support the child. Perhaps the child has already been living with the grandparent for some time and the parents have had little or no contact. In other cases, the child has suffered from abuse or neglect, both of which can be uncovered during a home visit or through other documentation.
Courts will also consider the grandparents’ fitness to raise and support a child—questioning whether they are physically and financially capable of long-term care.
Why should I adopt my grandchild?
There are other forms of grandparent’s rights that stop short of adoption. These include:
With other alternatives, why pursue a full adoption? Every case is different, but adoption offers the most secure guarantee of rights. In some situations, the grandparent may prefer to obtain a temporary custody arrangement while the parents work toward establishing a safer, healthier home. Essentially, the family works together to care for the child with the goal of returning him or her to full parental care.
But when abuse, neglect, or a criminal history is involved, a grandparent may wish to avoid the possibility of future custody battles and secure the child’s safety as soon as possible. Not taking the appropriate legal steps when needed can have devastating consequences in the future.
Adoption also gives the grandparent full parental control over things like medical decisions and educational choices. If the grandparent is a retiree, the grandchild may be able to benefit from pensions, Social Security, and reduced income qualifications for school financial aid packages. Adoption also removes possible future disputes over inheritance between the grandparent’s children and grandchildren.
If you’re considering grandparent adoption, make sure that the process goes smoothly. Contact the Atlanta adoption attorneys at Bivek Brubaker & Prescott LLC to schedule a consultation. Call us at 404-793-6530 or at 866-527-2630 to make an appointment.