Kentucky judges considering child custody must review the best interests of the child in order to determine the custody and visitation schedule. Grandparents and stepparents may be awarded visitation rights in scenarios where judges deem this in the best interests of the child. In some cases, however, grandparents and stepparents may be involved one step further and have questions regarding the adoption process.

One common scenario for grandparents is when birth parents become unable to raise the children for one reason or another. As loving or caring grandparents, you may want to step in and take the legal responsibility for the children. There are, in fact, many different scenarios where a child could find himself without legal guardianship, resulting in numerous negative impacts on the child’s life. Without a positive influence from a legal guardian, the child may have trouble interacting with other children, staying on track in school, and making healthy decisions for himself or herself.

In these types of situations, a biological parent may still be involved with the children when a grandparent initiates his or her feelings about adoption. A petition must be presented in order to terminate parental rights for the biological parents. For many grandparent and step-parent cases, this can be an emotionally charged interaction, particularly if one or both parents is not readily willing to give up their parental rights.

Step-parents, too, have concerns over children who not be biologically their own. For example, in the instance that the spouse and biological parent of the children passes away or becomes incapacitated, step-parents actually have no legal rights over those children. In order to protect the family you love so much, a step-parent adoption can allow you to make those critical decisions with and for children if something happens to their biological parent. If the children involved are older, the court may also recognize the children’s opinions and wishes in the final decision.

Adoptions may also be used as an official recognition of making the family whole. For example, although step-parents often play an important role in the growth and development of children whether they are official legal guardians or not, an official adoption can bring the entire family together.

Since these cases can be so complex and heighten any existing tensions between family members, it’s wise to share your concerns with us so that we can analyze the situation and help you address the solutions.   We will help to guide you through the process, answer your questions, and prepare you for what to expect at each stage. Without a skilled attorney at your side, the curve balls in an adoption case like this may throw you for a loop and leave you feeling unprepared.

An adoption can be an exciting but also a challenging time emotionally, and it’s important to prepare yourself for the entire process. Set yourself up for success with the experience and background of someone who knows what to expect and how to develop your case.

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