California, like many other states, recognizes limited rights of grandparents and the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. In California, grandparents can seek custody of a minor and even adopt the child if adoption by a grandparent is in the child's best interest.
Grandparents Custody Rights
In dire situations, such as when the health, safety and welfare of a child are at risk, grandparents can petition the court for temporary or full custody. If the parents are unfit or otherwise unable to care for the minor child, the court will terminate their rights and the grandparents will have sole custody. When removing a child from his parents in California, the courts prefer placement with a relative, such as a grandparent, temporarily or permanently. Additionally, if the child's parents die, the court usually awards custody to the grandparents or the child's designated legal guardian, such as his godparents. Depending on the situation, the child may be eligible for adoption by his grandparents.
Grandparents Adoption Rights
Grandparents with custody of a minor child may be eligible to adopt in certain situations. For example, if the child's parents terminate all parental rights, the grandparents can adopt the child. Additionally, if a minor child's parents put the child up for adoption, the grandparents can seek to adopt. But the court does not give them preference, particularly in open adoptions. An open adoption is where the biological parents and adoptive parents know each other's identity.
Best Interests of the Child
Grandparents can receive custody or be able to adopt their grandchild if doing so is in the child's best interest. When determining the child's best interest, the court considers the health, safety and welfare of the child, his relationship to his grandparents and parents, the child's age and the health and mental wellness of the grandparents.