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Supreme Court considers grandparents' rights case

At issue is a trial judge's decision to let the grandparents intervene in another couple's adoption of a toddler.

©Associated Press

October 10, 2002


At issue is a trial judge's decision to let the grandparents intervene in another couple's adoption of a toddler.

TALLAHASSEE -- State Supreme Court justices listened Wednesday to arguments in an adoption battle between a toddler's grandparents and a couple who want to adopt the boy.

It's not up to the high court to decide who will get to adopt the child, who turned 2 last week. The issue is whether the boy's grandparents can intervene in the adoption process.

The grandparents say their daughter abandoned her baby and they were granted custody along with the state. The other couple say the birth mother consented to their adoption of the child. A trial judge allowed the grandparents to intervene in the adoption case of the other couple. The couple appealed that decision, which the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach upheld.

The other couple, who currently have the little boy, appealed again to the Supreme Court.

Several justices questioned an attorney for the couple about why the grandparents, weren't equally eligible to be considered as adoptive parents.

"You seem to be saying that everyone else in the world that qualifies under a statute can file a petition for adoption of this child, but the grandparents cannot," Justice Barbara Pariente said. West Palm Beach attorney Lynn Waxman argued that the grandparents did not have a legal interest since the mother had consented to the couple's adoption.

Justice Raoul Cantero asked the grandparents' lawyer if the issue before the high court was whether the trial court had abused its discretion.

"And trial courts have abundant discretion in determining whether to allow a party to intervene. Do you agree with all of that?"

Boca Raton lawyer Jeanne Brady said she agreed.

"The decision of the 4th District is sound in every way," she answered.

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