Should You Adopt Your Grandchild or a Relative?
“Adoption” can be an intimidating word, and it may not be something that you foresaw in your future. However, your child or your child’s partner may not be in a position to care for your grandchild, forcing you to step in as a responsible caregiver.
Adopting a Grandchild or Relative
Adopting a grandchild can be a long and difficult road, but if your grandchild or relative’s future is at stake, it is a road worth taking. You may have temporary custody, or you may be a legal guardian. However, these roles may not be enough to protect the child’s well-being.
If your child is going through a difficult time and is unable to raise their child, the grandchild may be turned over to you temporarily for a number of reasons including substance abuse, economic hardship, mental issues, or incarceration. Sometimes, though, temporary care can turn into long-term care, especially if your child’s issues are never resolved.
When issues don’t resolve themselves or they become worse and you start to become concerned about your grandchild’s welfare, you may start taking on more parental responsibilities. Sometimes, returning children to their parental home may subject those children to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. There may be drugs involved, or there may be neglect that is ongoing. Other factors may have popped up.
For example, when things like education and health care enter the picture, you may need to make things more permanent and become a legal guardian or go a step further and consider adoption. If you aren’t sure what your options are, it may be a good idea to consult a professional who has deep knowledge of New Jersey family law statutes.
When you are a legal guardian, you will be able to make educational and health decisions for your grandchild. However, the parents still have legal rights. This may be a comfortable middle ground to stay in until your grandchild is an adult. If not, you may want to terminate the legal parental rights, especially if you feel that these rights are endangering the child.
A Relative Entering Foster Care
There may be relatives who have to give up their children to foster care because of difficult circumstances. In cases like this, the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) in New Jersey will prefer to place the child with a relative — one who preferably knows the child and can minimize the trauma of leaving home. Being adopted by a relative may be in children’s best interest as it lets children keep ties with their birth parents. Plus, children who are adopted by relatives may not feel as cut off from the world that they knew. New Jersey law differs from other states when it comes to adopting a relative. A law firm in New Jersey may be able to help with your questions.
Factors to Consider
Making the decision to adopt a grandchild will alter the rest of your life until they turn 18 years old. There are other factors to consider, and a New Jersey adoption attorney may be able to discuss these factors in more detail. Providing love and comfort to a child in need is one of the most rewarding things that you can do, and it can be a rewarding way to spend a portion of your retirement.
However, if you have retired, you may be living on a fixed income and may not have the financial capability of raising a child. Children and their needs are expensive, and you will need to write out a rough budget of what you think you’ll need over the years. Another detail to consider is your age. You should be able to raise your adopted child until they reach the age of 18, so honestly considering your current and future health prognosis is crucial.
When you need a New Jersey adoption attorney who is familiar with family court and adoptions, contact Cofsky & Zeidman. You can call our main Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005, or you can call our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555.