Grandchildren are precious, and spending time with them is a gift that is cherished. Special circumstances may arise leaving us to wonder, can a grandparent adopt a grandchild?
A grandparent can adopt their grandchild by filing a petition with the courts. If there was a death of one of the parents, incarceration, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or another situation presenting a threat to the child’s well-being, then a petition may make sense.
The decision to petition for custody of one’s grandchild is no small task. Petitioning alone implies that the parents would not voluntarily relinquish their parental rights.
We will cover the following in this article:
- How Hard Is It for Grandparents to Get Custody?
- Can I Adopt My Grandchild Without a Lawyer?
- Can Grandparents Get Custody Over the Father?
- Can Grandparents Get Custody From CPS?
This type of family dynamic could cause all involved a tremendous amount of stress and heartache.
No grandparent dreams of having a grandchild and then ripping them away from their parent so they may raise them as their own.
Unfortunately, grandparents at times need to step up when they know the grandchild is in a compromising living situation that is not in the child’s best interest.
Now let’s take a look at some common questions that grandparents may have asked themselves. We have the answers.
How Hard Is It for Grandparents to Get Custody?
There may be a time when a grandparent considers trying to get custody of their grandchild and wonders, how hard is it for a grandparent to get custody of their grandchild?
It is very hard for a grandparent to get custody of their grandchild unless they can prove that the child is in a situation that jeopardizes the child’s safety and well-being. It is not enough to petition for custody because of how the child is being raised unless abuse or neglect can be proven.
Like any other custody petition, there are legal procedures that must be followed. If a grandparent can prove to the courts that the grandchild’s safety or well-being is being compromised, then there are grounds to move forward; difficult or not.
Regardless of who is attempting to adopt a child, everyone is expected to meet the requirements. As long as you are healthy and fit to raise a child, you are off to a good start. To be prepared, you may want to read about what medical conditions prevent you from adopting a child.. You will want to be prepared and do your research before you get started so you know what will disqualify you from adopting your grandchild.
As grandparents, we want what is best for our grandchildren.
Yet we cannot simply petition for custody if we do not like our adult child’s spouse or because we do not get along with our adult child and rarely get to see our grandchild.
Related Article: Are you wishing to adopt a child but wondering if you will be discriminated against because perhaps you may be viewed as a bit older than would be preferred? You will want to read Am I too Old to Adopt a Child? 10 Things to Consider that I wrote specifically for you.
Grandparents may not agree with how a child is being raised, but if the child is in an intact family, there is not much they can do about it. Parents have the right, whether grandparents agree or not, on how they raise their child.
Successfully petitioning for custody of one’s grandchild requires more serious allegations.
Can I Adopt My Grandchild Without a Lawyer?
Hiring an attorney can be expensive, so can you adopt a grandchild without a lawyer?
You can petition to adopt your grandchild without a lawyer by visiting your local Department of Social Services or Judicial Court website and downloading the appropriate forms and instructions. Although, some may find that having a lawyer enables a faster, smoother process.
For those who are do-it-yourselfers and not intimidated by the court proceedings, the necessary court forms may be obtained on the state’s judicial website.
Feeling confident and following the instructions will help you save money as well as give you a sense of control over your petition to adopt your grandchild.
Although difficult, it is not impossible to be granted custody of your grandchild providing you can prove to the courts that the child is in an unsafe living environment and that it is in the best interest of the child they instead live with you.
A lawyer would want that evidence gathered and made available to present to the courts.
And one note of advice on those court forms. When downloading them from the state’s website, one is able to fill in the information on their computer before printing them.
This is encouraged, as printing them and then handwriting the information will appear less professional.
After all, when these forms are processed in a lawyer’s office, the information is typed, not handwritten.
The more polished you are in presenting your case, the more you will appear professional and put together.
Can Grandparents Get Custody Over the Father?
A grandparent may wish to petition for custody of their grandchild, but can grandparents get custody over the child’s father?
The grandparents have no rights to obtain custody over the father unless the grandchild’s father is proven to be unfit to parent the child. The grandparents may dislike the father and feel he is unfit to parent the child, but neglect, physical abuse, or other abuses by the father must be proven.
Occasionally, a grandparent finds they do not like the grandchild’s father and wishes they could get custody with the thought process that they would provide a much better environment for the child.
Yet, it is not enough to dislike a parent and then terminate their parental rights.
Parents have the right to parent their child in any manner they wish. This could include what others may feel are crazy late bedtimes, speaking derogatorily in front of their children, or other things that good parents would never do.
However, that is not enough to take away their parental rights.
Only in extreme cases of domestic physical altercations, alcohol and drug abuses, and other dysfunctional behaviors is there a chance for a grandparent to gain custody over the father.
Yet for those grandparents trying to obtain custody of their grandchild over the father who can prove the father is unfit, then by all means, the grandparents may be able to get custody of the father.
Just know that the courts will always try to keep the children with either the mother or the father unless, of course, extenuating circumstances can prove that neither are fit or available to care for the child.
Can Grandparents Get Custody From CPS?
For varying reasons, children can end up in the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS). And a common question is, can grandparents get custody of their grandchild from CPS?
Grandparents may be granted temporary custody of their grandchild if the child is in the custody of CPS. This gives the courts some time to decide what is in the best interest of the child. If both parents are proven to be unfit, then grandparents may eventually obtain permanent custody.
When children are removed from their home and placed into the custody of CPS, they are typically placed into a group home until a foster home can be found for them.
Courts may feel that it is in the best interest of the child to instead be placed with a grandparent until a resolution can be determined.
A court’s priority is always to reunite the child with their parents. Depending on the reason for the child being placed into the custody of CPS, the parents may be required to attend counseling and receive treatment for whatever caused them to lose temporary custody of their child.
Providing the parents abide by the process, follow the required recommendations, and demonstrates a desire to regain custody of their child, they will more than likely be given the chance to again parent their child.
The hope is that through treatment and or counseling, the parent will have learned some new parenting skills and has a new awareness of healthy parenting.