How Does Adoption Affect Child Support?
When parents have a child, it is their joint obligation to support the child, regardless of custody or visitation. Child support needs to be paid for both biological and adopted children until certain conditions are met. One of the conditions that can affect child support payments is the termination of parental rights and responsibilities. There are a few ways to terminate parental rights and responsibilities. One of the most common ways is through adoption by a child’s stepparent. A child support lawyer can help you determine how adoption affects child support.
Paying Support for an Adopted Child
When you adopt a child, you take on the parental rights and responsibilities for that child. Once you sign the papers, you are legally responsible for the child’s support and well-being. An adopted child requires the same support and care as a biological child, including child support payments. Although child support is often portrayed as the father paying the mother after a divorce, either parent can be required to pay support after any break-up.
If you adopt a child with your spouse, you both pay support after a divorce, depending on who retains custody of the child. If you marry someone and adopt their child but are later divorced, you must still pay child support. Adoption makes you the active parent in the eyes of the court. The rights and responsibilities would not revert to their biological parent, and you would have to file a court order to terminate your rights and responsibilities if you do not wish to pay child support.
How Your Child’s Adoption Affects Support
It’s not uncommon for stepparents to want to adopt their spouse’s child. Whether or not a stepparent adoption goes through depends heavily on the relationship between the child and their other biological parent. In order for someone to adopt their stepchild, the other parent must not have parental rights and responsibilities for said child. It’s possible that they already terminated these rights, either through court order or willing disposal. However, if the rights are still active, the stepparent seeking adoption would need to file a court order and attempt to have the rights terminated.
Child support is a large part of parental rights and responsibilities. As a parent, it is your duty to provide support for your child for as long as legally necessary. Once you terminate these rights and responsibilities, however, you no longer pay child support. With this in mind, some parents may willingly give up their rights and responsibilities to a stepparent if they feel the child is in good hands and they themselves are unable to provide this support.
Giving up your rights and responsibilities is a difficult decision. Often this means giving up custody and visitation rights. If you aren’t on good terms with your ex, this could mean complete removal from your child’s life. Child support payments can be a burden, but courts will work with parents to try and ensure everyone is treated fairly in these cases. A child support lawyer can help you work out payment plans and processes to help you continue to support your child and be a part of their life.
Other Occurrences that Affect Child Support
Adoption isn’t the only occurrence that can affect child support payments. There are several other ways to terminate child support. The main end to support payments is once the child reaches the legal majority age. However, courts may rule for continuing payments if the child has special needs or other costly requirements.
There are also two ways to end child support prematurely, outside of adoption. If a child becomes enlists in military duty, the military/state supports them. In that case, they would no longer qualify for child support services. A child who has successfully emancipated themselves in court would also end payments. Emancipation is another act that terminates the parents’ rights and responsibilities.
Adoption is a wonderful way to show love and support to a child in your life. For all intents and purposes, adoption makes you the active and responsible parent for that child. Because of this, you are responsible for their support and well-being. This is true even if you divorce their other parent and/or lose custody of them. If you have questions or concerns about how adoption affects child support, you need a qualified child support lawyer on your side. Attorney Sarina Hager has helped families and parents sort through child support and family laws for several years. She is ready to help you. Call the Hager Law Firm today at (903) 466-0001 to seek help with your case.