In March of 2009, the California Supreme Court upheld a decision that allows legal guardians to adopt children after they have resided with the guardians for a period of two years. Supporters of guardians' right to adopt say this is good news for grandparents, a demographic that is increasingly rising, and now adopting, their grandchildren.
Children are often placed in the temporary custody of grandparents when biological parents have not cared for their children for a period of two years. California law states that the grandparents can adopt the children under certain specific conditions, those conditions including:
- If the court has terminated parental rights or the parents are unable to continue to care for their children due to poverty, addiction, disability, abuse or imprisonment
- If the parents die and the grandparents are deemed appropriate legal guardians
- If the biological parents have put the child up for adoption
- If adoption is determined to be in the child's best interest
In determining what is best for the child, a court often considers the health, safety and welfare of the child, the quality of the home environment, the mental and physical wellbeing of the grandparents, and the quality of the relationship between the children and the grandparents.
Advocates of grandparent adoption say that the two-year guideline provides a benchmark for determining the suitability of adoption. Over the course of two years, the courts can determine if:
- Children have developed a sense of security and comfort
- The home environment is stable
- The children identify as a family unit regardless of the biological constitution of the family
- The grandparents have arranged their lives around the care of the children and created a family life structure based on the needs and best interest of the children
If you are interested in adopting your grandchildren, family law attorney Steven M. Bishop can help. Call the San Diego office at 619-299-9780 or contact us online.