Today, 5% of children live with their grandparents in Tennessee. In many of these situations, the grandparents have temporary or permanent custody of these children.
However, there are cases where the children cannot or should not live with their parents, so some grandparents have pursued adoption. These are a few things these individuals should know about grandparent adoptions before they start the process.
A valid reason is necessary
Grandparents may receive temporary custody in the case of parental deployment in the military, court-ordered drug or other treatment program or other reasons. However, if the parents die or they cannot provide a safe home for their children, the grandparents can pursue permanent custody or adoption.
Consent is best
The easiest way to gain adoption approval involves the parents giving up their parental rights and consenting to the adoption. However, if the court terminates their parental rights permanently, consent may not be necessary. In addition, children over the age of 12 can often choose who they wish to live with and give consent for their own adoption.
If the grandparents hope to protect their relationships with their children, gaining consent is the best solution.
The best interest of the child is the standard
Whether the grandparents gain consent or the court removes the parents’ rights, the final adoption decision will depend on the best interests of the children involved. Therefore, the court may evaluate the grandparents’ financial situation, mental and physical health and whether the children have a bond with them. The judge could explore how the children’s adoption can affect their other familial relationships.
Adoptions are final. Therefore, grandparents should understand the time, money and challenges of raising their grandchildren. They should assess their physical, mental and financial health and determine whether they can truly care for these children.