Grandparents reading a book to their grandchildren after adopting them

Can a Grandparent Adopt a Grandchild in Texas?

When parents have trouble providing care for their children, grandparents can often assume the role of the parent by raising their grandchildren. But even when acting as parents on a full-time basis, grandparents do not automatically have legal parental rights in Texas.

If you’re a grandparent who is facing this situation, you must take steps to adopt your grandchild if you want to have legal parental rights. Keep in mind that filing for permanent custody will result in two life-altering outcomes:

  • You guarantee your rights as legal parental figures.
  • You effectively terminate the rights of the child’s legal biological parents.

If the biological parents are deceased or if the court has already terminated their parental rights, adopting your grandchild will not be as difficult. But in cases where parents are alive – and their parental rights are currently intact – it could be a very difficult legal matter.

Learn more about the common question, “Can a grandparent adopt a grandchild in Texas?” so you know what to expect when taking on this legal battle.

The Importance of Legal Grandparent Adoption

There may be a lot of reasons why you might be wondering whether a grandparent can adopt a grandchild. You may believe the child’s parents are providing insufficient care, are prone to neglecting the children, and/or are exposing the child to danger.

No matter the reason you would like to pursue adoption, the key is having sufficient evidence to support your legal argument. Grandparents face an uphill battle in Texas when looking to accomplish adoption while the parents are fit to serve as parents.

The onus is on the grandparents to prove that the parents are unfit, which requires strong evidence. At the end of the day, unless the parents have willingly terminated their parental rights or a separate adoption has taken place, the rights of the child’s biological parents will stay the same.

And, without being granted parental rights, grandparents will not have the legal ability to make certain decisions on the child’s behalf (even if the grandparents are currently providing substantial care).

If you are ready for the battle, you can pursue parental rights through the family court system. Taking this action could benefit the child in a number of ways, as biological parents who haven’t had their parental rights removed can still make decisions that go against the wishes of the grandparents.

The Advantages of Legal Grandparent Adoption

Aside from gaining parental rights, legal grandparent adoption can have a number of benefits to support the well-being of your grandchild. Some of the benefits of pursuing a formal legal relationship can include the following:

  • Emotional Stability: Legal grandparent adoption will allow children to build a lasting emotional connection with their grandparents beyond the usual bond. Your grandchildren will feel like they’re part of a real family.
  • Financial Stability: When grandparents adopt their grandchildren, there’s no longer any doubt about who is responsible for financial decisions (e.g. medical care). Grandparents can provide their grandchildren the financial stability needed to meet their needs.
  • Legal Recognition as Parents: Using an adoption lawyer to support grandparents’ rights can give you the ability to act on their behalf. Obtaining legal custody will allow you to act as if they were your own children, especially when it comes to making important decisions (such as schools, healthcare, and personal care).

There are many other benefits of pursuing a legal parental role to support your grandchildren. Our qualified family law attorneys understand the legal process and can walk you through the following steps of how to adopt a grandchild in Texas.

How to Adopt a Grandchild in Texas

Before you can adopt your grandchild, all previous parental rights must be terminated. This effort can be accomplished with an Affidavit of Relinquishment. The difficulty of the process can range from straightforward to difficult (depending on the circumstances of the case).

In some cases, the biological parents may not be around. But they may also not want to relinquish their rights. So, you may have to fight to protect your grandchild from parents who could put them in greater danger, especially if they feel threatened that they could lose parental rights.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) will also need to conduct an official home study, even if your grandchildren are living with you and have done so for several years. This study aims to verify that you can provide a safe and healthy environment for your grandchildren.

Finally, if your grandchild is 12 years or older, he or she must consent to an adoption. Otherwise, the court may not approve the adoption after you petition the court. The courts do have the authority to waive this requirement if they believe the current parent-child relationship has damaged the child and the child is unable to act in his or her own best interests.

Can a Grandparent Adopt a Grandchild in Your Case? Talk to Our Attorneys

Grandparent adoption is a difficult legal matter in Texas. The adoption process involves many different relationships, plus complex legal dynamics.

If you’re a grandparent who wants to legally adopt your grandchild and are looking for a family law attorney to help you with your case, be sure to contact Parker & Aguilar.

Our team of legal professionals understands the ins and outs of grandparents’ rights to help you navigate legal issues and form a strong argument on your behalf. We are prepared to understand your status and help you on the right path.

We currently support clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact our offices ​​to discuss your circumstances so we can provide support.

You can reach us at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with an attorney. Find answers to questions such as “Can a grandparent adopt a grandchild?” and other key issues affecting your situation.