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Grandparent Adoption in Indiana 

In the heart of the Midwest, family values hold a special place, and in Indiana, these values often shine through in the bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren. Grandparent adoption is a testament to these deep-rooted connections, offering a beacon of love and stability for many families. While the process of grandparent adoption in Indiana is important and can be straightforward, navigating the legal landscape requires expertise and precision. This is where the skilled Indianapolis adoption lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can step in.  

With a deep understanding of the state’s adoption laws and a commitment to family unity, our team is here to guide you through every step of the Indiana grandparent adoption process. Whether you are seriously considering adopting a grandchild or simply looking to understand your legal options, Keffer Hirschauer LLP is your trusted partner in securing a bright future for your family. To speak with an Indiana adoption attorney from our firm today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Adoption Attorneys in Indiana

The Process of Grandparent Adoption in Indiana 

Grandparents play a unique and vital role in the lives of their grandchildren; and, in some situations, adoption not only solidifies this special bond but also offers legal stability and security for the child’s future. Generally, the process of grandparent adoption in Indiana is nearly identical to that of non-relative adoptions, but often less complicated. This is because Indiana courts largely prefer to keep children under the care of biological relatives, especially grandparents. As a result, required home studies may be shorter and the adoption process will take less time.  

Filing a Petition for Adoption and/or Temporary Custody 

The first step of any adoption is filing a petition for adoption. Typically, this is done with the help of an Indiana adoption lawyer who has past experience drafting and filing such petitions. As outlined in Indiana Code 31-19-2-6, this petition must include a variety of information, including details about the child who is to be adopted; information about the petitioner and their background; and other relevant information. Notably, for grandparent adoption in Indiana, the petition must also include information about the child’s family/guardian(s) and, if applicable, how long the child has lived in the home of the petitioner.  

In situations where it would be in the child’s best interest to be in the custody of their grandparents, the petitioners may also consider filing a verified petition for temporary custody of the child whom they seek to adopt. As stated in Indiana Code 31-19-2-13, the petition for adoption must be in proper form and a hearing must be pending regarding the adoption petition. If granted, the grandparents would then legally and financially responsible for the child until otherwise ordered by the court.  

In addition to filing the petition to adopt, grandparents will often need to obtain written consent from all relevant individuals. Generally, as outlined in Indiana Code 31-19-9-1, this includes each living parent of a child born in wedlock; the mother of a child born out of wedlock; the father of a child born out of wedlock whose paternity has been established; each person, agency or local office that has lawful custody of the child; the court having jurisdiction of the custody of the child; and/or the child, if they’re over the age of 14.  

In limited situations, outlined in Indiana Code 31-19-9-8, a child’s grandparents may choose to work with an adoption attorney in Indiana to prove that the consent of relevant individuals is not necessary. Typically, this happens when the child’s parent(s) are adjudged to have abandoned or deserted them for at least six months preceding the date of filing the petition for adoption. However, it may also occur in the following situations:  

  • The child has been in the custody of another person for a period of one year and the parent fails to communicate significantly with the child when able to do so or knowingly fails to provide for the care and support of the child when able to do so as required by law or judicial decree 
  • The biological father of a child born out of wedlock has not established paternity 
  • The child was conceived out of wedlock as a result of rape, child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor or incest by the biological father  
  • The parent’s parent-child relationship has been legally terminated 
  • The parent has been judicially declared incompetent or mentally defective, if the court dispenses with the parent’s consent to adoption 

Notice of Adoption 

After a child’s grandparents have filed the petition to adopt, they’ll then need to proceed to provide a notice of the adoption to certain individuals. As stated in Indiana Code 31-19-2.5-3, this includes any person whose consent is required for the adoption; the putative father; grandparents; the licensing child placing agency of which the child is a ward; and, if applicable, the local DCS office in the county in which the child in need of services proceeding was filed and the entity/facility/individual of which the child is a ward, if the child is subject of an open or pending juvenile delinquency proceeding.  

Home Study and Background Check 

Per Indiana Code 31-19-8-1, an adoption may only be granted after the court has heard the evidence, and a period of supervision has been completed. As part of the period of supervision, a licensed child placing agency or local office, if applicable, shall submit to the court a written report (otherwise known as a home study) that includes details on the former environment and antecedents of the child; the fitness of the child for adoption; and the suitability of the proposed home for the child. In addition, the report must be accompanied by a criminal history check, as mandated by Indiana Code 31-19-2-7.5. 

It is important to note that, in the cases of grandparent adoption in Indiana, Indiana Code 31-19-8-2 does allow for the period of supervision and the home study report to be waived by the court. However, a criminal history check will still need to be conducted and provided to the court for the adoption petition to be granted.  

Record of Adoption 

When a petition for adoption is granted by an Indiana court, the clerk of that court will need to prepare a Record of Adoption. This record shall include all facts necessary to locate and identify the certificate of birth of the individual adopted and establish a new birth certificate for them. It shall also include the court’s official notice of adoption, including identification of the court action and proceedings. As is made clear by Indiana Code 31-19-12-2, the completion of this record is the final prerequisite to the issuance of a certification of final adoption by the court.  

Five Considerations about Grandparent Adoption in Indiana 

Adopting a grandchild in Indiana is a profound step towards ensuring their safety, happiness, and well-being. However, before embarking on this journey, there are several critical aspects that potential adoptive grandparents should carefully consider. Here are five key points to keep in mind about grandparent adoption in Indiana: 

  1. Legal Representation is Crucial: The complexity of Indiana’s adoption laws make it essential to have an experienced adoption attorney by your side. A skilled Indiana family law attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can provide invaluable guidance, ensuring all legal requirements are met and that your grandchild’s best interests are protected throughout the adoption process. 
  1. Understanding the Consent Process: One of the most significant aspects of grandparent adoption involves obtaining consent. This could mean the voluntary relinquishment of parental rights by the biological parents or, in some cases, proceeding with adoption without their consent if the court deems it in the child’s best interest. Understanding the nuances of this process is critical. 
  1. Impact on Family Dynamics: Adoption can significantly alter family relationships and dynamics. It’s important to consider how this change will affect everyone involved, including the child, the biological parents, and other family members. Open communication and professional counseling can be beneficial in navigating these changes. 
  1. Financial and Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a grandchild often comes with considerable financial and lifestyle adjustments. Grandparents should assess their ability to meet the child’s needs, including health care, education, and day-to-day care. Planning for these changes in advance can help ensure a smooth transition for the grandchild. 
  1. Long-Term Commitment: Adoption is a lifelong commitment. It’s essential to consider the long-term implications, including the legal responsibilities of being a parent and planning for the child’s future. This includes considering your age and health, as well as setting up appropriate legal and financial safeguards for the child’s welfare. 

How Can an Indiana Adoption Attorney Assist Grandparents? 

Grandparent adoption in Indiana can be a beautiful way to strengthen family bonds and provide a child with a loving, stable home. That said, it’s a major decision that comes with significant responsibilities and legal complexities. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our family law attorneys are dedicated to supporting families through this process. With our comprehensive understanding of Indiana adoption law and a compassionate approach, we ensure that grandparents are well-prepared to take on this rewarding commitment. 

Here’s how an adoption lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP assist in grandparent adoptions: 

  • Navigating Legal Requirements: Indiana adoption laws are intricate, with specific procedures and requirements that must be followed meticulously. An adoption attorney can guide you through these legalities, ensuring that all necessary considerations are brought to the table and that the petition for adoption is filed in a compliant manner. 
  • Providing Representation in Court: Adoption cases often require appearing before a judge. An experienced attorney can represent you in court, articulating your case effectively and advocating for your rights as a prospective adoptive grandparent. This professional representation is crucial in persuading the court of the adoption’s best interest for the child. 
  • Advising on Consent and Custody Issues: Consent from the biological parents is a key factor in grandparent adoptions, except in cases where parental rights have been terminated due to neglect, abuse, or other significant reasons. An attorney can advise on how best to approach the consent process and navigate the complexities of custody arrangements
  • Facilitating Home Studies: Indiana law often requires a home study as part of the adoption process. This involves evaluations to ensure a safe and nurturing environment for the child. An adoption attorney can help prepare you for the home study, offering advice on what to expect and how to demonstrate your home as a suitable environment for the child. 
  • Ensuring the Child’s Best Interests: Above all, an adoption attorney focuses on the child’s best interests, providing guidance on how to fulfill these interests legally and emotionally. They help you understand the responsibilities involved in adoption and work to ensure that the process goes smoothly for both you and the child. 
  • Addressing Post-Adoption Legal Matters: After the adoption is finalized, there may be additional legal matters to consider, such as changing the child’s name, adjusting birth certificates, and securing inheritance rights. An adoption attorney can assist with these post-adoption legalities, ensuring that all aspects of the child’s new life are legally accounted for. 

Ready to Pursue Grandparent Adoption in Indiana? 

As you consider the possibility of grandparent adoption, remember that you don’t have to embark on this journey alone. The Indiana adoption attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP understand the emotional and legal intricacies involved in grandparent adoptions and are here to guide you through every consideration. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a supportive, guiding hand throughout this process, ensuring that you feel informed, prepared, and confident in your decision to adopt. With us, you can have peace of mind, knowing that every legal detail is being handled with care and professionalism. 

To begin this journey today, contact our firm at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation. 

Grandparent Adoption in Indiana
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Grandparent Adoption in Indiana
This article addresses the topic of grandparent adoption in Indiana
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Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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