Sometimes, a child’s parent cannot provide the care that the child needs. Maybe they struggle with addiction. Maybe they’ve passed away, or they must serve a prison sentence. Whatever the reason, many grandparents take on the role of parent to ensure their grandchildren can have the life they deserve. They hold a special position in the child’s life, as both grandparent and primary caregiver.
Those in this position may wonder, “Should I adopt my grandchild? Can I?” For grandparents in Florida pondering this question, here are three things you should know:
Adoption by a grandparent terminates biological parents’ legal rights
Adoption impacts the legal rights of everyone involved differently than a grandparent gaining custody. If a grandparent adopts their grandchild, their relationship legally becomes that of a parent and their child. Since a child cannot legally have more than two parents, this means the child’s biological parents must either consent to the adoption or have had their parental rights terminated.
No home study required
Under Florida’s adoption statutes, a final home investigation must occur before the adoption becomes finalized. But, when a child is adopted by a stepparent or a relative “within the third degree of consanguinity,” this requirement can be waived. This rule allows a child’s grandparents, an aunt or uncle, or even an adult sibling to adopt them without a home study.
Adoption brings certain legal rights
Many grandparents who think about adopting their grandchild are already doing many of the things parents do. They ensure the child gets to school and their extracurricular activities, feed and clothe them, and cover the necessary expenses for their care. Adoption gives grandparent the legal rights and obligations of a parent to go along with the care they already provide.
If you provide care for a minor relative, consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to learn more about your legal options.