Question

  04/24/12, 9:09 am
My in-laws adopted my husbands 2 children to keep the mother from getting them. My husband was financially unstable at the time and could not fight his ex-wife. The kids are 20 and 17 now. The mother of the kids committed suicide a few years ago. The 20 yr old is fine, in college, etc. The 17 yr old has alot of problems. ADD, ADHD and is in 10th grade. She is wanting to quit school and get her GED because she is failing her classes. The grandparents will not let her quit. Saying she is lazy and she could pass if she wanted. They get a check for her every month as long as she is in school. They let my husband and I take the girl a few years ago, we had her for 9 months. We did not recieve a dime for her. We paid everything. The kids mother killed herself about this time and the grandparents took the child back saying she needed counceling, they took her one time to a therapist and put her on medication that made her a zombie and the 12 yr old took herself off the meds. Then a year later, she begged to come back with us. They let her come for 18 months and took her back again. She is wanting to come back with us again. She calls crying and begging. The Grandma says no, because she knows that we will let her get her GED. We know and understand it will be better for her in the long run. She will be 20 or 21 when or if she graduates and she is struggling with her classes now. I guess my question is, is there anything that we can do? We have no legal anything. Only the grandparents do. They are only interested in the money. In all the time she lived with us, we never asked for or received a dime for her. We supported her fully, bought her clothes, school supplies, lunches, medicine, etc. all while the Grandparents still received the money for her and claimed her on income tax. I want her back with us. I am not interested in the money. She is 17 now. Can we get her? Can she say she wants to live with us and they have to let her come with us? I know this is long but I needed to explain. Thanks.
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United States   |   Texas  |  Family Law Divorce Child Custody and Adoption
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Answer

Nancy Lorenzen Says:

May 18,2012 11:41 AM

I'm not clear on whether or not your husband's parental rights were terminated here or whether the grandparents actually adopted the children or if they were appointed managing conservators of the children. If your husband's rights were terminated, despite the fact that the grandparents have allowed him a great deal of access to her, legally he's no longer her parent. It may be that until she's 18 there's nothing you can do. However, if his rights weren't terminated and rather than a full adoption the grandparents are joint managing conservators along with your husband (is he paying child support or is that coming from the state? does he have access to her by court order?), then he could file a suit to change the court order about where she lives because she wants to move and it could be argued that it would be in her best interest to do so. I'd expect the grandparents to contest this, and to say that it's in her best interest to stay with them. This could take several months and it could be really expensive. In any case, you and she might be better off waiting until she's 18 and she can just move out and go where she wants to because at that time she's legally an adult. They can't hold her there as an adult just because they may want to continue to collect child support for her.

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Nancy Lorenzen
Lorenzen Law Office
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