Grandparent and Relative Adoption in New Jersey
In the event that a child’s biological parents are unable or unwilling to care for them, a grandparent or other relative such as an uncle, aunt or older sibling will often choose to adopt the child. This is known as grandparent adoption, or relative adoption. Some of the common reasons a parent can no longer care for their child include:
- Death, serious illness or injury
- Legal troubles such as imprisonment
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Child abuse or neglect
- Financial troubles
- Unwillingness or indifference
In order for a grandparent or relative to proceed with an adoption of the child in New Jersey, both biological parents must officially surrender their rights to the child. This can be done voluntarily by the parents themselves, or through a court case. Once this is approved, the biological parents no longer have any financial or legal obligation to care for the child, and have no decision-making power as to the child’s health or wellbeing. The grandparent or other relative can then assume full legal custody of the child, and the court may enter an order permitting the grandparent adoption to take place.
What are the Benefits of Grandparent Adoption in New Jersey?
There can be a range of benefits for both the child and the adoptive grandparent or relative in these types of cases, such as:
- The child will have the right to inheritance from the adoptive parent and medical coverage
- The child, as well as the adoptive relative, will have the emotional stability of living with a family member during what is likely a very difficult time
- The grandparent or relative may be eligible for tax credits and benefits, such as the child dependency exemption.
In circumstances where the biological parents do not voluntarily surrender their rights, the process can take a long time and the court may not allow the grandparent adoption to proceed if there is a possibility that the biological parent may be able to eventually care for the child.
How Do I Get Started?
An experienced child custody and adoption lawyer is essential to navigating the complicated New Jersey adoption process, from the surrender of the biological parents’ rights to the final paperwork. Contact Himelman & Himelman today to discuss your upcoming NJ grandparent or relative adoption case.