Family Law

Reversing an Adoption

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Adopting a child can be a wonderful experience. Fortunately, most adoptions work out well for everyone involved. In some cases, however, the difficulties in forming a healthy parent-child relationship are overwhelming, and the parents seek to reverse the adoption. The challenges involved in reversing an adoption depend on which state you live in and whether you seek reversal before or after the adoption has been finalized.

The Costs of Adoption May Be Too Burdensome

Adoptive parents may wish to reverse an adoption for many different reasons. A child suffering from significant emotional problems could endanger other children in the household. If your adopted child suffers from physical or psychological problems, the potential financial and emotional burden may prove to be more than you can bear. Even if the child is placed in a government treatment facility, you will be expected to pay child support expenses unless the adoption is reversed.

Adoption Disruption

You may wish to reverse an adoption before it has been finalized if, for example, you uncover information about the child's mental or physical condition that you learned during the adoption process. Reversing an adoption before it is finalized is called a disruption. You don't need a court order to disrupt an adoption - simply contact the adoption agency, tell them that you want to disrupt the adoption, and complete the required paperwork.

Adoption Dissolution

Reversing an adoption after it has been finalized is called dissolution, and it is much harder than a disruption. To reverse an adoption, you must petition the court that finalized the adoption for a court order dissolving the adoption. Your petition may be denied - courts will only reverse an adoption when it is in the "best interests of the child." Even if the adoption is dissolved, courts in some states may require you to pay child support until the child either turns 18 or is adopted by someone else.

Child Abandonment is a Criminal Offense

The worst way to reverse an adoption is to simply abandon the child. This is a criminal offense. If you refuse to pick up your child from a hospital or treatment facility, for example, you can be charged with child abandonment - even before the adoption has been finalized and even if taking your child home would put your other children in danger. Similarly, unless the adoption agency is involved with the move, it is illegal to permanently move your child into the home of a family living in another state.

An Adoption Lawyer Can Help

The law surrounding the reversal of an adoption is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an adoption lawyer.

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