Adoption is a beautiful way to complete your family. However, our clients often have questions about this complex process, as well as about how the adoptive relationships could potentially interact with an uncertain future, i.e. in the legal areas of divorce, estate planning and so on.
According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, there are 8000 children in the foster system, 200 of whom are waiting for adoptive parents. Apart from these children or others in need of homes, you might also be thinking of adopting a spouse’s child. Here are some things you should know.
Adoptive parents are legal parents
Adoption is a method for establishing a parental relationship with a child. After it is complete, your relationship with your child would be virtually no different than any other parent’s, legally speaking. This extends to most legal matters, including child custody.
Adoption is necessary for some privileges
Without proving paternity or adopting, you and your child may not have access to the same types of rights as legal parents and children do. Adopting could therefore allow you access to some of those rights you need in order to provide for your child — if you needed to make legal decisions for the biological child of your spouse, for example. The good news is that these types of spousal-child adoptions typically have much shorter approval timelines than do out-of-family types.
Adoptive families form life-long relationships
Adoption touches all stages of a child’s life. Of course, gaining a legal parent affects childhood and early adulthood. As an older adult, your adoptive child would join you in your estate planning efforts. Your child may also need to consider your family, including any of your other children and any of your extended family members, in his or her own estate plans. Parent-child and grandparent-child relationships may even outlast spousal relationships.
This is a big decision, so please gather as much relevant information as you can find. Please continue on our main site to learn more.