Adoption Child Support & Re-adoption

by Anette from Manatee County, Florida

We adopted our daughter 5 yrs ago from Ukraine. We are considering divorce and my husband says that he will not pay child support for her since we did not re-adopt her here in Florida.

He will argue that he never wanted her and this is why we did not readopt, when in fact it came down to more money.

Answer to Florida Adoption Question

Dear Anette,

From what I have found so far in my research it is not always necessary to re-adopt a foreign born child.

In Florida a re-adoption of a foreign born child provides that the parents can apply for a Florida birth certificate for the child, but the birth certificate will clearly state that the birth certificate is not evidence of citizenship.

So, although, a Florida birth certificate will make things easier for the child later on as far as applying for a driver's license, etc. it has nothing to do with whether the adoption abroad is legally recognized here. I found the following information on the US Department of Health & Human Services website:

Florida Statutes state:
Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.192

A judgment of court establishing the relationship of parent and child by adoption issued pursuant to due process of law by a court of any other jurisdiction within or without the United States shall be recognized in this State, and the rights and obligations of the parties on matters within the jurisdiction of this State shall be determined as though the judgment were issued by a court of
this State.

And more information from the International Adoption Help website:

In most cases, the formal adoption of a child in a foreign court is legally acceptable in the United States. A U.S. state court, however, is not required to automatically recognize a foreign adoption decree... some instances, re-adoption of the child in the United States is required. This often occurs if the adoptive parent (or only one of a married couple) did not see the child prior to or during the adoption proceedings abroad. The child must be re-adopted in the U.S. in such circumstances, even if a full final adoption decree has been issued in the foreign country.

It is generally recommended that parents of a child adopted abroad apply for a U.S. Passport for the child; or a Certificate of Citizenship through USCIS for the child.

Both of these documents serve as proof of citizenship; while a birth certificate does not. Asking for child support in a divorce proceeding in Florida may well be granted, and the status of the adopted child should not matter in this regard.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Adoption Child Support & Re-adoption

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Adoption And Child Support
by: Dan from Ocala, Florida, Marion County

I just found out I have a 2 and a half year old daughter, whom I have never seen or have known. The boyfriend of the mother is begging to adopt the girl from me. As I haven't seen her and just found this out I want to make the right decisions.

What happens to court ordered child support when an adoption occurs? Who do I pay it to or does it get paid when I sign over all rights to the boyfriend. This is all new to me so I am just wondering what is required of me.

--In general, the child support obligation ends once the child is adopted. However, if there is past due child support owed, then that amount may still be due to the child. Since your ex's boyfriend is begging to adopt the child, there are a couple of things that all of you need to be aware of. The simplest type of adoption is a stepparent adoption, when the biological father consents.

However, since the possible adoptive father (the boyfriend) is not married to the mother, a stepparent adoption cannot take place until they are married. In a stepparent adoption as in any adoption in Florida, parental rights are terminated at the same time as the adoption. The biological parent(s) responsibilities end right along with the rights. Have a look at our Stepparent Adoption Forms page for more information. The Order for Stepparent Adoption states in part:

3. All legal relations between the adoptee(s) and the parent whose rights are being terminated and between the adoptee(s) and the relatives of that parent are terminated by this adoption, as are all parental rights and responsibilities of that birth parent.

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