Adoptions can be a wonderful event for a family, but they can also quickly become challenging times. It doesn’t matter if you go through a private adoption agency, work with the foster care system, or are adopting a stepchild, each has its own unique challenges that may end up requiring the help of a family lawyer in order to complete the adoption in the most favorable manner. During the adoption process, many questions may come up concerning how an adoption will affect grandparents’ rights, child support and custody, as well as many other common questions that you may be having. Here at OMG Law Firm in Arkansas, we have a soft spot for helping individuals who are going through the adoption process and need legal counsel. Let us help you get your questions answered and represent you when you need it most.

One of the most common questions that comes up during many adoptions is what rights do biological parents have during an adoption, and by extension, what rights do biological grandparents have?

In the state of Arkansas, as in many other states, an adoption can only be completed with legal termination of parental rights by both biological parents of their own fruition or by the courts by showing proof that remaining in the custody of their biological parents is to the detriment of the child. Adoptions involving a child being adopted by another family member are typically much more streamlined than adoptions that happen in other ways. Just like biological parents have rights until they are legally terminated, in many states, biological grandparents also have rights when it comes to an adoption. There are laws that protect biological grandparents’ rights that vary by state and there are also situations where when legal ties are severed from the parents, legal ties are then also separated with all other biological family members unless other legal arrangements are put into place.

Another common question we hear is, does child support continue after a child is adopted?

Just as all legal responsibilities for biological parents are terminated by an adoption, so are all financial responsibilities. This means that any child support being paid to a child’s legal guardian is terminated going forward. This does not apply to past missed payments. These payments are still due in full based on the original legal agreement. Another thought is that child custody is also  terminated when a stepparent legally adopts their partner’s child.

Some states only allow open or closed adoptions. What do these options look like in the state of Arkansas?

Arkansas is a state that allows many different types of adoptions including open adoptions, closed adoptions, and semi-open adoptions from either private or public adoptions. A closed adoption means that the biological parent will never have contact with the child, whereas an open adoption of any sort means that the biological parents may have some level of contact as dictated by the adoption agreement. These decisions are made early on in the adoption process and different contact guidelines will work best for different families. It’s important to figure out what will be the best fit for your family.