The state of California, like most others, takes parenthood seriously. As such, biological parents are given parental rights that allow them to make decisions for, take care of, and have custody of their children. There are some situations, however, in which parental rights are temporarily suspended, or eliminated altogether. Because adoption is a scenario which permanently terminates the rights and relationship between a child and their biological parents, it is seen as a last resort for ensuring a child’s wellbeing. That being said, you may be able to adopt your grandchildren in the event of:
- Death of both parents
- Parental incarceration
- Mental or physical incapacity
- Substance abuse
- Child abandonment
- Child neglect or abuse
In some of the aforementioned situations, Child Protective Services (CPS) may take the children away from their parents. Once they are removed from their home, the children are considered to be in custody of the state and are placed in out-of-home care. When this happens, relatives are given first priority for foster-care and adoption arrangements.
California Family Code Section 3041 states that grandparents can legally adopt a grandchild without obtaining consent from the parents. The courts will allow this if it is in the child's best interests. For example, it would not be reasonable for the child to live with the parents due to drug or alcohol abuse, which would endanger the child's well-being.
You may not want the state of California to gain custody of your grandchildren. If you know something is wrong, you may be able to suspend parental rights, and gain custody, in court. While you may have to start with a temporary arrangement, like legal guardianship, you will have an easier time adopting your grandchildren in the future.
What Do the Courts Consider?
First and foremost, California courts consider the best interests of the child. If you are requesting custody of, or trying to adopt your grandchildren, the court will examine your physical and financial capabilities to care for them. Additionally, they will weigh your previous involvement with the child and determine whether or not you already have a bond with your grandchild.
If your grandchildren’s parents are still alive, you will also have to prove that they are physically or mentally unfit for childcare. The court prefers, whenever possible, to allow for the reunification of the child with their biological parents. Due to this preference, you may have an uphill battle when fighting for the adoption of your grandchild.
How Do I Take the First Steps?
The state of California recommends talking to a lawyer before starting an adoption. This is because adoption is a complex process with lifelong implications. If you are considering adopting your grandchildren, your first step should be finding the right lawyer. Aharonov & Revy Family Law has experience with grandparent’s rights and child custody matters, and focuses exclusively on family law.
We can help you present your grandchild’s best interests to the court and increase your chances of receiving permanent custody. Don’t trust the future of your family to just anyone.
Call (818) 960-1330 or contact us online to set up a free, 15-minute phone evaluation.