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Grandparent “Kinship” Adoptions in Kansas

Grandparent “Kinship” Adoptions in Kansas
December 7, 2012 James Greenier

In Kansas, the relatives of either birth parent may, under certain circumstances, petition for the adoption of their child.  This category of adoption is referred to in the State of Kansas as a “kinship adoption” and includes grandparents as those eligible to adopt a child.   In fact, grandparents are the most common “kinship” caregivers in Kansas since they are often left caring for their grandchildren should their own child die, become infirm, terminate their parental rights, face serious economic hardship, be unwilling to parent their child, or be rendered by a family court as parentally unfit due to drug or alcohol abuse.  With this in mind, the Kansas legislature enacted various measures, including a special grandparent kinship adoption process, to facilitate grandparent adoptions within the State.

Accordingly, there are several legal requirements that must be fulfilled before grandparents can successfully adopt their grandchild.  Typically, grandparents are able to adopt their grandchild if his or her birth parents consent or based upon a showing that the parents abandoned their child.  In order to initiate the legal process, a child’s grandparents must submit a petition for adoption with the family court of their jurisdiction.  If the biological parents of the child consent to the adoption, the case should proceed rather quickly.  However, if the child’s parents object or they fail to give their consent, his or her grandparents can still pursue the adoption.  Specifically, when biological parents object or fail to consent to the intended adoption of their child, the court will hold a hearing.   During the hearing, the grandparents can present evidence to the court demonstrating the unfitness of the child’s parents.  At the conclusion of the adoption hearing, the judge will render a decision based upon what it deems to be in the child’s best interests.

Additionally, there are numerous benefits offered to those that prevail in adopting their grandchild in Kansas.  First and foremost, the adoptive grandparents can offer their grandchild a more stable and nurturing environment in order to facilitate his or her growth and development.  Moreover, the adoption proceeding ceases the ability for the child’s birth parents to negatively interfere with his or her upbringing.   In other words, the child’s parents can no longer come and go in the child’s life, further complicating his or her life. Lastly, grandparents who adopt a grandchild can also qualify for a Federal Adoption Tax credit, which often means that all court costs and other fees can be recouped when they file their tax return.

For more information or if you are considering the adoption of a grandchild, contact my office now to learn more about your rights.  Only an experienced Kansas family law attorney can advise you of all of your legal options and effectively guide you through the entire adoption proceeding.   I invite you to call me today to find out more about how I can help you with your case.