Mississippi Lawyer for Grandparent and Relative Adoptions
If you are considering the adoption of a grandchild or relative in Mississippi, consult a family lawyer with adoption experience to help you understand and navigate the process effectively.
Many children are reared by a close relative, and in most states, relatives are given first consideration when courts or welfare agencies want to place a child. Generally, preference is given to the child’s grandparents, especially where there is an existing emotional bond. They are followed by aunts, uncles, adult siblings, and cousins.
Approximately five percent of children in Mississippi are living in grandparent-headed households without either parent present; another smaller percentage lives in households headed by relatives other than grandparents.
There are many reasons why a grandparent or other relative might come to raise their kin’s children. They include:
- The death or incapacitation of the natural parents
- The divorce of the natural parents
- Child abuse, neglect, or abandonment by a parent
- The incarceration of a supporting parent
- Systemic unemployment or financial incapacity of a supporting parent
There are three main ways in which grandparents who are raising their grandchildren can establish a more formal relationship:
Custody and guardianship arrangements may be temporary or permanent arrangements.
Adoption is the most stable and enduring option, although somewhat less common. An adoption officially terminates the relationship between the previous parents and the child and creates a new legal relationship between the child and the adopting grandparent or relative. New birth certificates are issued and the adopting parent becomes the legal parent. If the birth parents are still living, they no longer have any rights or responsibilities concerning their child. However, the birth parents may still see the child if the parties agree to an “open adoption” arrangement.
Consult an Attorney Experienced with the Adoption of Relatives and Grandchildren
In Mississippi, as in most states, relative adoptions are generally treated less formally than a non-relative, or “stranger” adoption. Even so, when seeking custody or adoption of a grandchild or other minor relative, the safest course is to hire an attorney with expertise in family law. The attorneys at Maley & Nicholas have the knowledge and experience to answer all your questions regarding all the available options up to, and including, adoption. Call to schedule an attorney consultation.