In the state of Texas, grandparents have limited access rights to their grandchildren. They get their rights through their children (i.e. the parents of the grandchildren.) However, grandparents may have standing to adopt their grandchildren under certain circumstances, such as when the grandchild has been living with them for more than six months and/or the grandchild’s parents are deceased or incarcerated.
Here are the five things you should know if you are considering a grandparent adoption:
1) Adoptions are permanent. Once the Court grants the adoption, the grandparents’ rights are the same as if they had been the biological parents from the beginning. Going back and changing your status back to grandparent is not an option.
2) The adoption could be challenged. In the event that the grandchild’s parent is deceased, a grandparent wanting to adopt a grandchild could face a challenge from any other interested party including the other biological parent. The Court will ultimately what is in the best interest of the child.
3) A pre-adoptive home screening is required. This is a process by which a social worker visits the home, observes the living conditions, interviews the parties and in some cases the child, and provides a recommendation to the Court. The Court will then typically rely on this recommendation when determining whether to grant or deny the adoption.
4) An attorney ad-litem may be required. If there is a missing party, such as a biological parent who can not be located, the Court will appoint an attorney ad-litem to represent the interests of the missing party. This cost is typically borne by the party seeking the adoption. The extent of the ad-litem’s role is usually to conduct a search to locate the missing party and report their results back to the Court. If the missing party is located, they will be given an opportunity to respond to the adoption lawsuit.
5) Cost runs between $2,000-$5,000. The costs for a lawyer to complete an adoption varies based on the particular facts, circumstances and complexities of the case. Where your case falls in this range depends on those and many other factors, such as whether the adoption is contested.
If you are a grandparent considering whether to adopt a grandchild, contact San Antonio Family Law for a free consultation today.
(Kevin “Buck” Sralla is a licensed family law attorney in the state of Texas. He has 18 years experience and has completed many adoptions over the years.)