GRANDPARENT AND FAMILY ADOPTIONS
Grandparent and Family Adoptions
Sometimes, life presents such large obstacles to parents that their family must step in to help take care of children. Incarceration, drugs, mental disorder, and a myriad of other reasons will leave children in the care of family. After some time, that bond can become more parent/child than that of grandparent or aunt/uncle. We understand that whatever problems the parent may face, that they need to be treated with dignity while we transition the children to new parents who will be able to better care for them. It can be one of the hardest things for a parent to do to give up a child, but it is better to give that child to family for the child to blossom than to risk losing the child to the state. Any number of reasons can bring about a need for a family adoption; it is the attorney’s job to make the transition with dignity.
In the event that the parents agree to an adoption, the process is simple and painless. From hiring the attorney to judge’s order will typically take two months, presuming everyone signs timely. The cost is $1,200.00 plus the costs (filing fees/court costs). (More details would be explained in a legal services agreement.)
In situations where the father is unknown, publication is required. Any known potential fathers must be notified (there are exceptions in instances of sexual assault that must be brought to the Judge). Because of publication, there is a delay for this type of case, but it is still relatively inexpensive. There is a retaining fee of $2,500.00, and the firm bills hourly against that at our hourly rates of $250.00-395.00 an hour, depending on the experience of the attorney. (More details would be explained in a legal services agreement.)
In disputed situations, or in situations where a parent may not be comfortable with the permanency of adoption, there are two steps that would need to be taken first in a fight between family and a parent for custody.
In the event that the child is in some way put in harms way or neglected (whether through absence of the parent, neglect of the child, or harm to the child), you will want to pursue a private deprivation action.
In the event that the parent is willing to give custody but not adoption, or in the event that this is your first time before the court, you will want to look at Guardianship options.
If you already have a guardianship of the minor child and you wish to move towards adoption, you will want to know that it is not an easy battle, but it certainly can be done. As a part of the process, the Judge will look at the involvement of the parent and improvement of the parent. If the underlying issue was drugs, but the parent has been seeking aggressive treatment for drugs, a judge will be unlikely to go the more permanent adoption route. However, if the parent only gives lip service to drug treatment in that situation, but does not seriously attend, there may be a case. This applies to all situations where a parent has options of turning life around. Typically, for adoption without consent of the parents, you will want to show that there has been no visitation in a year and that the parent has not provided support for the child in that time. Terminating a parent’s rights is not something a judge does easily, and judges will often give parents multiple opportunities to get life back in order. However, when a grandparent or family member has had long term guardianship, the parent has not shown improvement, and it is shown that adoption is in the best interest of the child, that is when an adoption can be pursued without consent of the parent. The retaining fee for this type of adoption is $5,000.00, and we bill against that at the hourly rate of $250 to $395 per hour, depending on the position and experience of the attorney. (More details would be explained in a legal services agreement.)
To discuss a grandparent or family adoption with one of our attorneys, we invite you to call 770-863-8355 to
schedule a free consultation.