In most cases any single or married adult may adopt a child. Some states allow minors to adopt under certain circumstances. Same-sex adoption laws vary by state. Although there are some disputes over interracial adoption, adoption of child by parents of different racial ethnicity, the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 prohibits adoption agencies from refusing or delaying an adoption based on the child’s or parents’ racial or national identity.
What If There Is a Conflict Over Adoption of the Children?
Sometimes multiple parties lay claim to the adoption of a child. For example, if both the birth parents are suddenly unable to provide care for the children, grandparents, uncles/aunts and godparents may conflict over who obtains custody of the children. In that event, a court will give custody to those who are best able to provide for the children’s best interest.
If We Adopted Children Together But Are Now Getting a Divorce, Will Our Status as Adoptive Parents Affect the Outcome of the Divorce?
The answer would turn on the type of adoption and the best interests of the child. If the adoption was a stepparent adoption, it is likely that the court will grant custody to the natural parent of the child. If only one partner in the relationship is registered as the child’s parent, then that partner will retain custody of the child. If both parents are adoptive parents, then the case and questions of child custody will move forward like a normal divorce proceeding.
Regulation of Fees and Expenses
While the laws governing adoptions vary from state to state, all states have imposed regulations on the fees that adopting parents pay when adopting a child. These include agency fees, payments to the birth mother, as well as legal and attorney fees. In general, the law permits fees that are reasonable and in line with customary practice. For example, adoption counselors are permitted to charge the standard industry rate for their services.
Revocation of Adoption
Once a court declares an adoption to be final, the consent by the birth parents or guardians of the child cannot be revoked unless the consent was obtained fraudulently or under duress. It is important to note, however, that many states do have a revocation window in which the birth parents or guardian may revoke the adoption. This period ranges from forty-eight hours to twenty-one days after the child is given to the adoptive parents. Be sure to check your local law on revocation of consent prior to adopting a child.
Termination of Adoption
If two individuals jointly adopt a child, one of the parents may transfer full parental rights to the other parent. Aside from this one exception, adoptive parents may not terminate their relationship with their adoptive child. This would be considered child abandonment or neglect.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
If you have an adoption or family issue a family lawyer can advise you on the law in your area and help solve your problem.