Friday, April 13, 2012

Boise Divorce Attorney - Idaho Family Law Lawyer - Adoption in Idaho

Adoption - Family Law
Adoption falls into the category of family law, not because it involves divorce issues necessarily, but because it involves the family.  In the Idaho Code the law for adoption falls under "juvenile proceedings".  This is often confusing to people because generally we tend to think of juvenile proceedings as criminal law associated with minors.  It is simply located here because adoption generally refers to children.  In Idaho, however, you can also have adult adoption.  As a Boise Family Law attorney people often ask me who can adopt and who can be adopted.  This not only involves the people, but the circumstances surrounding the adoption.

Who can adopt and who can be adopted?

Adult Adoption in Idaho
Adoption law in Idaho has evolved over the years.  At one point adult adoption was an acceptable thing to do.  In the early 90's that was change to disallow the adoption of adults only to return once again to the current status of allowing adult adoption.  

As a Boise Family Law Lawyer, I often get confused looks when I speak about adult adoption.  Why would this ever happen?   In general this situation revolves around an adult who has been cared for as a child or young person by someone who was not their parent.  Why the family never adopted the adult as a child can be as varied as snowflakes.  As the law stands currently, you must show that there has been a parent/child relationship for at least 1 year and that a substantial family relationship has been formed.  So why would someone want to be adopted as an adult?  Here too there can be many many reasons, but in general the adoption process legally creates a parent/child relationship.  From a probate and estate planning perspective, a child can inherit without the formality of a will.  It acknowledges the family relationship that has been established.

Adoption of a Child - Consent
When we speak of adoption, we generally refer to children.  The Idaho Code establishes how a child is adopted, who can adopt and what the respective rights of the parties involved are.  An interesting change in the rights and responsibilities is in respect to unmarried fathers.  At one point the law would not allow a father's rights to be terminated without his consent.  The consent had to be actual or at least established by a failure of the father to come forward.  Now the law establishes that there must be an active role in the interest and upbringing of a child or the father stands to loose his rights, without his consent.  In fact, the Idaho Code places the rights of the perspective adoptive parents, the child and the mother over that of an unmarried father, when that father has not taken his rights and responsibilities seriously.

Another interesting issue having to do with consent and adoption that I see as a Boise Family Law Lawyer is as it relates to divorce law.  If a couple is in the process or divorce, but not legally separated, neither party can adopt a child without the consent of the other party.  From a divorce attorney's perspective this is logical because it prevents a party from being given the responsibility of parenthood  via adoption when there is an impending divorce.  The adoption would create custody and child support issues and therefore the law requires both parties to agree to this responsibility.

Unmarried Persons Seeking to Adopt
While there is no specific law referring to who can adopt, we often think of adoption by a married couple.  Idaho allows for unmarried persons to adopt when it is shown through the social services investigation that they can provide a stable home life for the child.  

Age of Adoptive Parent
Another factor that can effect who can adopt is age.  You must be at least 15 years older than the person being adopted or 25 years or older.  This, however, does not apply if you are married to the child's parent and you can show you have established a substantial parent/child relationship for at least 1 year.  

If you are seeking to adopt a child or have another Family Law issue, including divorce, custody, child support, modification or domestic violence, please give us a call, (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you. 

1 comment:

  1. Adoption procedures would be considered to be in the area of family law and international adoption will often mean that a lawyer will have familiarity with the immigration and residency issues involving children and parents.