If you and your spouse begin the process of adopting a child, but decide to divorce before the adoption is complete, what happens? How does Minnesota law affect this process, and how will your divorce in Minnesota affect your adoption plans?

Getting divorced now will not necessarily ruin your chances to adopt, but it can definitely complicate matters to the point of halting or delaying the adoption process. Your divorce will raise lots of questions that must be answered before the adoption can take place. For example, which parent would claim custody of the adopted child? What are the circumstances surrounding the divorce? How would these circumstances affect an incoming child? Will the child be placed into a worse situation by entering a newly broken home?

Mitigating factors regarding adoption and divorce

The type of adoption can also play into a divorce situation, as well as the context of the divorce itself. Here are some additional mitigating factors that can affect the outcome of the adoption:

  •     The wishes of the birth parents. If you are participating in a consensual adoption in which the birth parents have specified that they want their child to go to a married family, your adoption process can be halted.
  •     Step-parent adoptions. If you are a birth parent and your new spouse is a step-parent seeking to adopt your child, the adoption will likely be halted if you’ve decided to divorce.
  •     The rules governing international adoptions, if the child is foreign-born. Some nations have specific rules about placing adopted children with married or single parents.
  •     Suspicions regarding the timing of the divorce. There are times when a couple agrees to stay married just long enough to complete an adoption because one parent wants to adopt, and they feel being married makes them more qualified. The law frowns on this practice, and a judge may negate the adoption if the circumstances seem suspicious.
  •     The best interests of the child. The courts will always delay or halt an adoption if there is any question whether the interests of the child are being served.

Seek legal counsel

If you decide to divorce during an adoption process, all is not necessarily lost, but you should seek guidance from an experienced family attorney to help you navigate these potentially murky waters. Call our offices today for an initial consultation.