We hear a lot of questions about relative adoption here at Heimer Law, though that term is not always the one people ask about. Instead, we hear questions like these:

  • “Can I adopt my niece?”
  • “How can I adopt my grandson?”
  • “Can I adopt my nephew, even though I’m a relative?”

In fact, one question we hear is, “Is it legal to adopt a relative?” The answer is yes, absolutely. In fact, welcoming a child who is related to you into your home without going through the adoption process can be dangerous for you and the child. When you bring a young family member into your home to care for them permanently, relative adoption is exactly the right move.

Is it temporary or permanent?

Loving relatives may take on the care of a child temporarily while parents are unable to fulfill their responsibilities for some reason. This may involve legal custody, or it may just be a casual arrangement within the family.

However, sometimes a biological parent cannot continue to provide care for their child. If the child is a minor (under 18), parental consent is typically required for adoption. This means both biological parents must voluntarily agree to the adoption. This can be the most loving choice for individuals who are not ready or able to care for the child.

If a court has already terminated the biological parents’ parental rights due to neglect, abuse, abandonment, or other legal reasons, their consent wouldn’t be required. Termination of parental rights may be one of the steps along the way to relative adoption.

The child’s well-being is top priority

The safety and well-being of the child is always the top priority. While people sometimes ask about grandparents’ rights or family rights, these are not legal realities. Even close relatives must have background checks, health checks, and home checks as needed to be sure the child will be provided a good home. Relative adoption can be faster and easier, and courts prefer to place children with family members, but you should expect formal legal proceedings.

Heimer Law will help you navigate these issues smoothly. A qualified adoption attorney will make sure that your relative adoption is completed correctly. If there are any legal hurdles, you will be glad to have the expertise and support of our experienced legal team.

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