The divorce process puts many things on hold, but few things are as heart-rending as a pending
adoption. It's no secret that adoptions are expensive and time-consuming; domestic adoptions cost around ten thousand dollars on average, with an average wait time of 1 to 3 years. A divorce can cause significant delays to a pending adoption, or even worse, cause the adoption to be denied altogether. There are, for example, adoption agreements that allow biological parents to set certain conditions, such as requiring that the adoptive parents are married at the time of the adoption. If the biological parents have already terminated their parental rights, they will not be able to object to the adoption. In many cases, however, biological parents retain their parental rights until the adoption becomes official.
There may be religious or cultural reasons for requiring the adoptive parents to be married, but it also ensures that the child will receive the same benefits as a biological child in the event of a divorce. Once the adoption is formalized through a final decree of adoption, each parent has the right to seek custody, visitation and child support, just as they would if the child had been born to them. This is also the reason that an individual may want to proceed with the divorce as soon as possible. After all, the prospect of being legally responsible for a child until he or she becomes emancipated is a very serious responsibility. If you are certain that your marriage is not going to last, it may be in everyone's best interest for you to move on as soon as possible.
If you are the spouse that wants to continue with the adoption, you will need to consult a family law attorney about the best course of action. Your attorney will help you evaluate your lifestyle and financial situation, which will help determine whether or not you can support a child on your own. It's important to be completely honest during your consultation, even if it means delaying the adoption indefinitely. While children can thrive in a single parent home, necessities such as daycare and medical treatment can be difficult to afford on one income. If you have to work additional hours to make ends meet, you may not have enough time to truly bond with a child. If you decide to proceed, you will need your attorney's help in convincing the court to allow the adoption.
Adoption, with or without a divorce, is one of the most complicated topics in the field of family law. Whether you are considering adoption, or have concerns about a pending adoption, please consider speaking with the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. In addition to divorce, our lawyers can assist you with other adoption-related issues such as parental rights, international adoption requirements, and sexual or gender discrimination. They will be happy to advise you of your rights and options during a free initial consultation.