At Held Law Firm it has been our privilege to meet dozens of people who come to us with hopes of adopting a child. Whether they are adopting a stepchild who they have been parenting for years or becoming the new parent of an infant through independent adoption, these clients are motivated by intense love and care for the adoptive child to make them an official part of their family. One common question we get, though, is what does adoption really mean, legally speaking? Following a final order of adoption, the adoptive parent has the following rights and responsibilities:
The Right to Direct the Child’s Upbringing
Every parent has the Constitutional right to direct the upbringing of their child. This means that parents get to make educational, medical, and a variety of other decisions for their child. When you adopt, you get those same rights too.
The Right to Restrict Who Sees the Child and When
Legal parents also have the right to decide who gets access to their children and on what terms. Once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parent has these same rights. This can be particularly helpful for grandparents who have adopted a grandchild after the biological parent has shown themselves unfit to parent. Grandparents often worry about the influence a biological parent could have on their grandchild, especially if that biological parent is mentally unstable or on drugs. Conversely, these same grandparents are also often intensely concerned with maintaining some sort of relationship between the biological parent and their adopted grandchild. The great news for people who find themselves in such a situation is that adoption gives the adoptive parent all the power in this regard. That means that, after an adoption is finalized, the grandparents get to decide when (and If) a biological parent gets to see their adopted grandchild, including imposing conditions like clean drug screens or sobriety.
The Right to Visitation with the Child, even if separated or divorced from the Child’s Other Parent
People anticipating an adoption are rarely thinking about what might happen in the event of a divorce, as most are currently happily married and looking forward to a wonderful future together. However, it is important for both parties to realize that, once an adoption is finalized, both parents have equal rights to the adopted child. This means that, in the event of divorce, a court will have to order custody just as they would with any biologically related family. This means that adoptive parents can rest easy knowing that their rights are protected, even in the event of a divorce or separation.
The Responsibility to Pay Child Support, in the Event of Separation or Divorce from the Child’s Other Parent
Just as adoptive parents get the same visitation rights as biological parents following a divorce or separation, they are also subject to the same rights and responsibilities pertaining to child support, including the responsibility to pay child support.
In short, adoption makes it as if the adoptive parent had themselves given birth to the adopted child. It is every bit as permanent, every bit as serious, and every bit as protected, as biological parenthood. If you are ready to accept the responsibility of adopting a child, give the attorneys at Held Law Firm a call. We can make the legal process as easy as possible so that you can get back to the important things—raising your child.