The Legal Process for Adopting Your Grandchildren
For many, the bond with a grandchild can be just as strong, if not stronger than that with a child, often with fewer challenges than a parental relationship. When your children have children but lack the capacity to properly care for them, grandparents often step in. But unless you legally adopt your grandchild, you may face difficulties such as getting them a passport or insurance or enrolling them in school. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to legally adopt a grandchild in the Lone Star State. Here’s what you need to do:
- Obtain a termination of rights from the parents – Before you can have legal rights to parent your grandchild, the biological parents’ rights must be terminated. Parents may voluntarily do that by signing and filing an Affidavit of Relinquishment. You must obtain relinquishment from both parents. If one or both parents refuse to terminate their rights, a grandparent may file a request to terminate parental rights but must prove to the court that the child’s present circumstances will significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional development. A termination of parental rights also may be filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), by a guardian ad litem on behalf of the child, by a licensed child-placing agency, or by a minor child’s legal guardian.
- Submit to a home study – In many instances where a grandparent seeks to legally adopt, the grandchild is already living in the grandparent’s home. Nonetheless, a home study must be completed to show that the grandparents understand their duties and obligations and are physically, financially and emotionally prepared to parent the child. The home study typically costs $500 to $1,500. In most instances, the home study will be conducted by the DFPS, but it can be done by any licensed home study agency.
- Secure the consent of the child, if the child is 12 years of age or older – The child must sign a document of consent.
- Obtain approval of the court – To have legal effect, the adoption must be sanctioned by the court. In many instances, you can complete the termination of parental rights and the adoption at the same hearing. In most cases, the process is fairly straightforward. However, if one of the parents objects, the court may consider testimony and evidence and schedule additional hearings before making a decision. Ultimately, however, the court will determine what it believes to be in the best interests of the child.
Contact the Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment with an experienced Texas grandparent adoption attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.