Pennsylvania Supreme Court Denies Mother-Grandparent Adoption

A decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released this past Monday reversed and denied lower court rulings that allowed for the termination of a biological father’s parental rights in favor of an adoption recognizing the biological mother and the biological mother’s father (the children’s paternal grandfather) of twins as a parent.

Citing concerns for potential adoption abuse, lack of statutory authority, and a review and rejection by the Court comparing the instant proposed mother-grandfather adoption analogous to a step-parent adoption, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was unwilling to carve out a new adoption path involving a parent and a grandparent.

The decision is noteworthy because the Court recognized and acknowledged the continuing evolution and changes to family types implying that they needed protection.

In reviewing this case and the recent decision from a New York court regarding protections to relationships between children and non-parents who fill the role as a parent, it is important to remember that the adoption filing was likely triggered by a parent seeking the Court’s assistance based on a child’s best interest.

Like the New York case released earlier this week, these cases present difficult and complicated issues that may have existed in the past but were never realized or, if realized, unlikely years ago to be taken seriously and brought before a Court.  Now with recent expansive recognition of families, new adoption configurations that were once deemed not worthy of recognition are now at the court steps begging for consideration, recognition, and a chance to prove that the arrangement presented is in a child’s best interest.  Should children involved in these cases have to wait for a legislative body to recognize their other parent or should a Court step in first?  Here’s one recent story where a young adult had to wait until she finally turned eighteen for her step-father to legally be recognized as her father over the likely objection of her biological father.

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