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What Divorcing Biological Parents Need to Know About Adoption

Posted on in McHenry County Family Law Lawyer

Kane County Family Law Attorney AdoptionWhen parents face an unplanned pregnancy or a pregnancy during divorce, they have three options: parent, terminate the pregnancy, or place the child up for adoption. Choosing the latter option, adoption, does not mean that a parent is “giving up;” it means they are making the best possible decision for everyone involved in their situation at that time. This decision belongs to the biological parents, particularly the mother, and no one else. However, even a decision made to place a child up for adoption remains unenforceable unless certain specific prerequisites are met.

A Biological Parent’s Rights Regarding Adoption at the Time of Birth

When a situation, such as a pending annulment or divorce, changes the dynamic of a family, a mother sometimes determines she does not want to be a single mother, or that it is not the appropriate time for her to raise a child. The birth mother has all of the rights and responsibilities as a parent to her child until she officially relinquishes her rights.

The final binding contract, known as the "final and irrevocable surrender for the purposes of adoption," cannot be signed by the mother until the child is a minimum of 72 hours old. A father may choose to complete the form before the birth of the child, but this decision may be revoked at any point before the 72-hour threshold. To terminate the adoption process at this point is known as “disrupted adoption” and is an option for most mothers whose natural rights have not been previously removed by the court.

The Emotional Roller Coaster

Any pregnancy, regardless of circumstances, is an emotional roller coaster which can be intensified by hormones and stressful situations. However, a phenomenon often occurs at the time of birth in which scared parents see the face of their child and know with absolute certainty that parenting that child is the right choice for them. Unfortunately, this comes as a heartbreak for previously chosen adoptive parents, many of whom have given time, money, and emotional support to the biological parents throughout the pregnancy. It is important to remember that any assistance provided to the birth parents by an agency, attorney, or by the adoptive parents is done so without any legal obligation and is not enforceable as a loan.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

The birth of a child is a life-altering event. Not only is it the beginning of a new life, but it also results in major life changes for parents, extended family members, and friends who are involved. Decisions made during this time deserve thorough research and consideration. At the Thomas Law Office, we understand the importance of your choice and can guide you through the process using experience, knowledge, and compassion. Contact a McHenry County family law attorney today at 847-426-7990 to discuss your case.