You and your spouse made a decision as a couple and parents to adopt a child and provide that child all the love he or she (or any child) deserves. And for a while, you made a beautiful, loving family. However, as we have learned time and again, marriages do not always work out. Sometimes Mom and Dad grow apart as they grow older. Now that divorce is looming, what does that mean for your adopted child?
Legal Issues and Adoption in Minnesota
Adoption is the legal process of bringing a child into your family through means other than biological methods. People adopt for numerous reasons and seek avenues to make adoption part of their family plan. The legalities surrounding adoption are where time, energy and costs can play a major role. To begin, parental rights need to be terminated, legally, between the birth parent and the child. Then, even once that occurs, the birth parent can, in certain cases, attempt to rescind that termination and block the adoption. While there are federal laws to oversee the overall process of adoption, each state maintains their own set of laws relating to domestic adoption requirements. The most important legal issue to keep in mind is once the adoption is finalized, the child is treated as any other legal member of the family without any differentiation. Therefore, in Minnesota or in any other state, child support and custody relating to an adopted child will be no different than the standards related to biological children.
The Grey Area
It appears fairly black and white when a couple divorces and has a child which was officially adopted prior to the divorce. However, what happens if the couple divorces prior to the finalization of an adoption (which could take two or three years). Or, what if the child is a foster child and not officially adopted into the family? This issue creates a new level of confusion for parents who are working hard to provide this child with a wonderful life, filled with opportunities. Furthermore, the law is often unclear on this matter, especially since it is not the most common event during the adoption process. That is not to say it does not happen.
Depending on where the adoption is in the process, one parent may choose to continue the adoption on his or her own, providing no parental rights to the soon to be ex-spouse. In that case, the ex-spouse has no parental rights, and therefore does not owe child support of any kind. However, what if that is not an option? What if the adoption is almost complete and taking away parental rights would be detrimental to all parties involved? How is this handled in Minnesota in terms of child custody and support? It is essential to seek experienced legal counsel that can aid you in all aspects of the divorce, including the custody and child support issue relating to an adopted child. To learn more, contact the Family law experts at Minneapolis based Lake Harriet Law Office at 612.750.4843.