June 21, 2012 § 8 Comments

Here’s an adoption scenario I was presented with recently:

Natural father is convicted of a felony and sentenced to a long term in Parchman. Natural mother is left at home with one child, and is struggling financially. She does not want a divorce. Paternal grandfather, 72 years old and a widower, is willing to help by adopting the child. Natural dad will sign a consent. Jurisdiction and venue are proper. The adoption will allow the child to be covered by grandpa’s health insurance, and will have the added bonus of providing SS benefits for the child in the event that gramps kicks the bucket. Mom wants to continue to be the mom, so the adoption judgment will terminate natural dad’s parental rights, substitute the paternal grandfather for the natural father, and leave the mom in her position as mom. As the lawyer helpfully points out, it’s a win-win-win situation. Right?

You’re the special chancellor. How do you rule? What’s the basis for your ruling?

Answer later.

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§ 8 Responses to AN ADOPTION PUZZLER

  • nightshift66 says:

    Hmmm. Six of the seven comments so far show a greater concern for the SSA, insurance companies, and/or the technicalities of the adoption statute than for the future of the child at issue. I am not at all sure that I look forward to the ruling.

  • My opinion, the natural mother either has to give up her rights to the child as well, in order for the adoption to proceed or a simple guardianship ordered to the grandfather if she will not accept that. If she believes that an adoption is in the best interest of the child she should give up her rights as well (not saying it is or isn’t). Depending on the reason for the natural father’s incarceration it is also possible to take away his parental rights and proceed with guardianship proceedings. In general, I just do not see an unmarried couple adopting a child is in that child’s best interest. You run the the same risk of conflict as in any unmarried couple that has a child together; butting heads on who has say so over the upbringing of the child, not to mention visitation etc. If the adoption is granted I see a lot of potential future litigation in relation to the terms of each the adoptive parent’s rights.

  • randywallace says:

    “Mom wants to continue to be the mom”

    I could be mistaken, but I don’t think that is possible in this situation.

  • David Linder says:

    Section 93-17-13 provides in part that the adoption judgement shall provide “(d) that the natural parents and natural kindred of the child shall not inherit by or through the child except as to a natural parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent, and all parental rights of the natural parent, or parents, shall be terminated, except as to a natural parent who is the spouse of the adopting parent.” Since the mother is not the spouse of her father, then how could the adoption occur without her parental rights being terminated? The statute says “shall” and therefore appears to be mandatory.

  • John Moore says:

    Not sure about the law, but I don’t like it. Kid can get covered by medicaid or something else. Smells a little like fraud on the SSA and the insurance carrier (Maybe, “lack of character” is a better term than fraud.). What lesson do we convey to the child if we do this – the ends justifies the means; do whatever you need to do to get what you want? The best interest of the child goes beyond economics.

  • What’s in the child’s best interest? Since father and daughter are not married, I don’t believe the are allowed to be parents in an adoption (don’t have cites assuming they exist). Daughter either has to join in the adoption or have her rights terminated, leading to adoption. I would say the best thing for the child is for his grandfather to be given custody of the child, not adoption.

  • Matt says:

    I am anxious to hear the answer and explanation. Why can’t a child have 3 parents?

  • Tim says:

    I would deny, as you are setting up a legal impossibility the father of the mother would now also be legal father of the mother’s child. Sounds like a fraud to me. If both parents parental rights were terminated I could swallow this pill a little easier.

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