Nearly 2.8 million children in the United States live with their grandparents full-time according to data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center. If you are a grandparent in this situation, legally seeking custody or adoption can protect your role as the child’s guardian.
Review the Texas laws about adopting your grandchild.
Custody vs. adoption
Texas uses the term conservatorship to describe legal custody. If the state has concerns about the child’s well-being, a family court judge may seek kinship care with a grandparent or other biological relative.
If you successfully file for conservatorship of your grandchild, the judge will list your rights as his or her guardian. For example, you will receive the power to access your grandchild’s school records and take him or her to doctor appointments.
With adoption, the court permanently terminates the parent’s rights. In this case, you receive all parental rights rather than only those listed in a conservatorship order.
Temporary authority to care for a child
If you are unsure if you will permanently care for your grandchild, you can seek temporary authority to care for a child. Texas allows this type of court order to take effect if the child has lived with you for at least the past 30 days, you do not have written authorization from his or her parents to provide care and the parents have not filed a legal objection to temporary custody. The judge can grant temporary authority for up to a year.
In each of these scenarios, you will better be able to provide for your grandchild’s needs. The best route for your family depends on the specific details of your situation.