The Legal Rights of Adoptive Parents After Divorce

If you and your ex-spouse legally adopted children together during your marriage, you have the right to spend time with them pursuant to a parenting plan after you get divorced.

Adopting a child is one of the strongest expressions of a promise to be a family forever, but it does not make marriages invincible. Every year, the Georgia courts dissolve the marriages of some couples who separated even after they adopted one or more children together. If you legally adopted your child, you have the same rights that biological parents have to their children, as well as the same obligations. For example, you have the right to parenting time with your children and the obligation to contribute to their financial support until they reach adulthood. The Norcross child custody lawyers at Zimmerman & Associates can help you draft, modify, or enforce your parenting plan so that you can maintain a stable relationship with your adopted children after you divorce your spouse with whom you adopted the children.

What Makes Someone a Child’s Legal Parent?

Unless she places the child for adoption or has legally acknowledged in writing that she is acting as a gestational surrogate, the woman who gives birth to a child is the child’s legal parent. If the mother is married to a man when the child is born, the mother’s husband is also the child’s legal parent, whether or not he is the child’s biological father. (The courts have heard bitter disputes over legal paternity in cases where a woman and her boyfriend conceived a child when she was separated from her husband but not legally divorced.) Likewise, if the mother is unmarried when she gives birth, her boyfriend must file a petition for legitimation to become the child’s legal father; in this case. In other words, in the eyes of the court, legal parenthood is more about family stability and less about genetics.

Make Sure Your Adoption is Legal

Once your adoption is finalized, you are the child’s legal parent, but not a minute before. If you and your spouse or partner are raising a child together, do not wait to start the adoption process. If you and your spouse divorce or you and your partner separate, you will not have any parental rights unless you have legally adopted the child. Even if it is obvious to the judge that you are the world’s greatest stepparent, this does not give you any legal right to continue a parental relationship with the child; you are not the child’s parent until the adoption is official.

How Does the Court Determine Parenting Time for Adoptive Parents?

The court determines parenting time based on the child’s best interests. Therefore, many factors affect the parenting plan, including the parents’ work schedules, the children’s school schedules, proximity to extended family members, transportation issues, and which parent has thus far been more involved in the child’s day to day care. If your parenting plan does not afford you enough time with your children, you have the right to ask the court to modify it.

Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Child Custody Cases After Adoption in Atlanta

An Atlanta family law attorney can help you develop and follow a parenting plan if you and your spouse adopted children together and then got divorced. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to set up a consultation.