What rights does the biological grandparent of an adopted child have?

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What rights does the biological grandparent of an adopted child have?

Several years ago, my sister adopted her husband’s daughter. The biological mother waived her parental rights in order for the adoption to take place. The child is now a teenager and the biological grandmother recently contacted the girl on Facebook. The woman insists she has rights as a grandparent but has never seen the child. Does she have rights? Does my sister need an attorney?

Asked on April 18, 2012 under Family Law, New Mexico

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she may have rights under New Mexico's law.  Adoption does not always terminate visitation rights in New Mexico. Biological grandparents may petition for visitation if the adopting party is a stepparent, a relative, a person designated in a deceased parent's will or a person sponsoring the child in baptism or confirmation ceremonies.   There are a lot of factors the court will consdier, the best interests of the child being the biggest factor.  I would not lawyer up just yet.  Your sister needs to take a step back for a second and look at the big picture.  She does not want to be the bad guy here no matter how much this is hurting her.  If the child is a teen then she will soon be an adult and your sister will have no say in who can or who can not contact her.  So seek legal counseling cautiously.  Good luck.


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