Family Law

About Adoption

Adoption can be a good choice if you're unable to have children or simply want to share your love and home with another child. Adoption is a legal process that ends the rights of the biological parent. If you're adopting a child, you should expect the legal process to take up to two years or longer, depending on the details of your adoption case.

Biological Parents Rights After Adoption

An adoption terminates the parental rights of the biological parent. Once the adoption is final, you are the child's legal parent - with all the legal rights and responsibilities of any parent.

You're responsible for your child's care and support. This means the biological parent is no longer required to provide financial assistance for the child. The biological parent will not have to pay child support for the adopted child once the adoption is final. The biological parent is still responsible, however, for any child support payments accrued before the adoption is finalized.

Home Study for Adoption

All states require that the adoptive parents participate in a pre-placement home study. This is a period during which you are prepared for the adoption process. The extent of the home study varies by state. It can include a visit by a social worker to determine the suitability of your home.

The goal of a pre-placement home study is to make sure you can provide a safe environment for the child. If the child to be adopted has certain special needs, it can include special training to help you meet those needs. It can also involve a background investigation of you and your spouse, including a review of your income statements and personal references.

Adoptions Are Not Always Final

After an adoption, you become the legal parent of the adoptive child. This gives you sole decision-making power where the child is concerned. In certain rare circumstances, however, an adoption may be nullified. This is referred to as a wrongful adoption.

When the adoption involves fraud or coercion, the biological parent may be able to regain custody of the child. This could happen if the child was kidnapped and then later adopted. Custody of the child would revert to the biological parents even if you were unaware that the child had been taken illegally. Also, certain states grant birth parents a preset window of time to change their minds about the adoption.

Adoption Costs May Be Tax Deductible

There are costs associated with adopting a child. Depending upon your individual circumstances, you could receive certain tax credit and benefits. These credits and benefits may reduce your federal tax liability to the Internal Revenue Service.

The Adoption Tax Credit allows you to deduct up to a certain amount of expenses for domestic or international adoptions. You may be able to deduct the full amount of the tax credit if your adopted child has special needs, even if your expenses were less than the credit amount. The tax credit does not generally cover expenses related to the adoption of a stepchild.

An Adoption Lawyer Can Help

The law surrounding 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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