Judge Rules Against Grandparents in Adoption Proceeding

Child holding parents hand

A state judge has rejected the petition of New York-based grandparents to adopt a three-year-old New Jersey girl, calling the attempt “absurd.” In a 28-page opinion, Superior Court judge Louis S. Sceusi denied the request of the child’s paternal grandmother and her partner.

According to court records, the child’s parents never married, but have maintained an amicable relationship. They both opposed the adoption petition. The grandmother first sought to adopt the tot when she was about 18 months old, at a time when the child was temporarily lodged at the grandmother’s home. The grandmother alleged in her complaint for adoption that she had “received the child” into her care by “verbal and implied consent of the child’s parents.” She also alleged that the parents had failed to provide for the child’s needs, had abandoned the child, and were unfit parents.

Subsequent to that initial adoption petition, a family court judge made the child a ward of the court and granted temporary custody to the grandmother, pending a Child Protection and Permanency (CPP) investigation. The CPP investigation was never conducted, as the biological mother immediately filed her own complaint, denying all allegations of abandonment and parental misconduct. Based on the mother’s complaint, the family court dismissed the grandmother’s request to adopt the child. The grandmother appealed that dismissal.

In ruling against the grandmother, Judge Sceusi ruled that there was no evidence that the child’s parents consented to the adoption, and that there was no evidence that an approved adoption agency had placed the child for adoption. Absent those conditions, the child was not available for adoption and could not be adopted. Sceusi likened the situation to one where a babysitter, after taking care of a child for a few hours, sought to adopt to the child.

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