stepmom and child

Relative Issues in Today’s Families

Families form in many ways in today’s world. Relationships between siblings these days are more varied than ever before with marriage, divorce and adoption. This can lead to many legal questions regarding family and relative issues. As a family law firm who offers divorce, child custody, and adoption services, here are some situations we have handled. These examples may provide insight to your situation. However, we caution you that no two situations are alike.

Stepchild Adoption

Adoption of a stepchild is more common than you may think. In situations where one parent is deceased or has already relinquished all parental rights to their child, it is much like any other adoption. However, in cases where the parent is simply not active in the child’s life, you either need them to give up rights or ask the court to terminate their parental rights.

Grandparent Visitation

Most children ensure that their parents get time with the grandchildren. However, when their child dies, grandparents sometimes suffer the loss of both their child and grandchildren. In cases like these, the grandparent can formally request visitation. However, it is rarely granted by the state because the state maintains that a parent has the right to determine with whom their children spend time. If you are a grandparent, that does not mean you won’t ever see your grandchildren again. It just means you and a family law firm may need to work to gain visitation. Visitation of grandchildren in foster care are commonly granted visitation.

Sibling Guardianship

Sadly, there are cases when parents pass away leaving both adult and minor children. There are also cases where a parent is a drug or alcohol addict. When they cannot or do not take proper care of their children, adult children may be a better caregiver. In these cases, an adult sibling may want guardianship. Much like a relative adoption situation, you must prove that your sibling would be better off with you than with your parents or in foster care. The process begins with petitioning the court. You would need to prove you are capable of supporting your sibling(s) and capable of making decisions regarding their education and medical care.

Familial Adoption

Although it may seem that adoption by an aunt, uncle, or other close family member would be an easy process, it rarely is. A familial adoption has many of the same hurdles as any other adoption as the state must ensure the welfare of the child/children. Most successful familial adoptions are done with the assistance of a family law firm and often begin with obtaining temporary legal custody of the minor.

Wagstaff & Pitelis is the Family Law Firm to Call

No matter how straightforward or complicated your family situation is, when you need the help of an experienced family law firm, rely on Wagstaff & Pitelis. We have been serving the Largo, Clearwater, Pinellas Park, and Belleair areas for decades and are here to help you. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation – (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form.