By Sandra Dalton, Staff Writer
If you are already raising a grandchild, adoption may make it easier for you to provide all of the care your grandchild needs. If your grandchild’s parent or parents are living, you can ask them to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights, so that you can become the child’s legal parent. Under extreme circumstances, you can take the case to court and try to have their paternal rights terminated. Each state is different, and you will need to talk to a family law attorney in your state to find out what you need to do and if you qualify for grandparent adoption.
Adoption vs Custody
Adoption permanently terminates all legal rights and responsibilities of the parents making you the legal parent, or parents if adopting with a spouse. It can provide security and stability for your grandchild and give you peace of mind that the parents will not be able to take the child from you at a later date. It may make your grandchild eligible for benefits they could not receive if you merely had custody.
Child custody can be physical, legal or both. Physical custody means your grandchild would live with you and you would take care of the child, but the parent or parents retain the right to make important decisions for the child and may be required to pay child support. Legal custody gives you the right to make important decisions for your grandchild but does not bestow the full rights you would have as an adoptive parent. Custody is not necessarily permanent and can always be challenged by one or both parents.
If you are considering grandparent adoption, please search this directory for an excellent adoption law firm in your area.