Different State Laws regarding Adoption

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013

The creation of a parent-child relationship between individuals not naturally related is what adoption is all about. Through adoption, the adoptee, usually a child, is given all the privileges and rights as any member of the family and becomes an heir in the same family. The new legal relationship created through adoption simultaneously ends the natural parents’ rights over their child.

Adoption was initially viewed as a means for childless (married, opposite sex) couples to have children and normalize their union. Today, the present focus is for the child to be placed in an improved environment. The first modern adoption law, the 1851 Adoption of Children Act, was passed in Massachusetts; it recognized adoption as both a legal and social operation intended to promote child welfare rather than cater to the interest of the adopting adults.

There are two types of adoption recognized in the US: open adoption and closed adoption. While the birth mother may be allowed to choose who can adopt her child, as well as be permitted to maintain contact with, and visit, her child in open adoption, closed adoption requires the birth mother to relinquish her rights over her child and let the state decide as to who can adopt the child.

The website of the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., reports that adoptions are regulated by state laws which vary between states. There are two major issues, though, that need to be resolved by all states regarding adoption: Who can adopt?; and, Who can be adopted?

Who can adopt?

Different states allow adoption to be made by:

  • Any single adult
  • A married couple
  • A stepparent (can adopt her or his spouse’s birth child)
  • Married persons who are legally separated or in one spouse is judged legally incompetent, may adopt singly
  • Adopting parent must be at least 18 years old (some states require the age of 21, others 25, still others, require that the adopter ought to be at least 10 years, 14 years or 15 years older than the adoptee

Who can be adopted?

Varying states laws on who can be adopted, include:

  • Persons below 18 years old
  • A child who is legally free for adoption
  • Any person, regardless of age, but so long as the adopting parents are older than the adult to be adopted

To fully understand your legal options with regard to adoption, a highly-qualified family lawyer will be able to provide you with the assistance you need. He or she will also be able to inform you of the specific adoption laws your state observes. Make sure you contact one in the event that you are considering adopting someone.

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Understanding Alimony

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013

At the end of a marriage, there are numerous issues that need to be resolved by the former spouses. These include the difficult tasks of determining child support, child custody, who gets to keep any family pets, and the equal division of property. In addition to these issues, the court may also decide that one spouse will have to pay the other alimony.

Alimony is an amount of money that is given from one former spouse to the other after a divorce. The end of a marriage will likely bring drastic changes to an individual’s life. Alimony payments are awarded so that the spouse who makes less income after the divorce can have time to adjust to this difference in income. This is seen most often in the cases of stay-at-home moms and dads who do not make any income and suddenly find themselves without the money their ex spouse used to bring in. Alimony payments are most commonly a temporary situation which will last until the spouse who made less income:

  • Readjusts his or her lifestyle to their new income
  • Finds a job
  • Finds a new place to live
  • Remarries

However, there are situations where alimony payments can be permanent. While uncommon, this usually arises when it is clear that an individual’s financial standing is unlikely to ever improve.

Alimony payments should not be confused with child support, which is used to pay for the expenses of a child, such as school supplies and clothing. Therefore it is entirely possible to owe both alimony and child support to an ex, or receive one and pay the other.

Because of this and various other factors, going through a divorce presents numerous unique challenges that many people would not think to consider. However, a divorce lawyer will have experience dealing with these kinds of situations and can help a person pursue larger alimony payments or as little alimony as permissible, depending on which side of the divorce they are on.

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