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Can parents prevent a Texas grandparent adoption?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2024 | Child Custody & Visitation

There are many reasons why a Texas grandparent might decide to adopt their grandchild. Perhaps they have cared for the child for years while the parents have not done so and now want to make those arrangements permanent. Maybe they have witnessed abuse or neglect that makes them worry about the safety of their grandchild.

Grandparents can sometimes pursue an adoption as a means of protecting their vulnerable grandchildren. Sometimes, parents may recognize that they cannot meet the needs of their children. Someone incarcerated, dealing with a major health issue or struggling with addiction might voluntarily cooperate with a grandparent adoption.

If a parent wants to retain their parental authority, are grandparents forced to give up their desire to intervene for the protection of a grandchild?

Involuntary grandparent adoptions are possible

The simplest way to adopt a grandchild involves the written consent of the parents. Typically, this process requires that any living parents sign documents voluntarily giving up their parental authority. Even those who do not currently enjoy visitation or shared custody still retain their legal rights in many cases. Grandparent adoptions can be very simple and straightforward when parents who can’t parent voluntarily give up their parental rights to facilitate an adoption.

Not all parents agree to do so even if they clearly fail to provide appropriate support and resources for their children. Sometimes, they have worked hard to improve their situation or can’t accept that a medical condition prevents them from properly parenting. When there are issues related to abuse, neglect or severe instability, it is sometimes possible to have the state involuntarily terminate a parent’s rights.

This process usually requires substantial evidence and the involvement of state authorities, including the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). DFPS may investigate allegations made against parents and take legal action. They typically also need to conduct a home study to ensure the grandparents can provide what their grandchildren need. If the state terminates a parent’s rights, it may then allow a grandparent to proceed with adoption if it is in the best interest of the children.

Ultimately, understanding when grandparent adoptions are theoretically possible in Texas may benefit grandparents concerned about the current living circumstances of their grandchildren.