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What Are An Adoptive Parents Rights To Legal And Physical Custody

Morris County NJ Adoption AttorneysRecently, I was posed with an interesting question. An adoptive father had been told by the natural mother of their child that he did not have any right to legal and physical custody of their child. Since the parties were not married, the father worried that there was some truth to what he had been told.

Clearly, the natural mother of the child was wrong. Adoption in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 9:3-38 et seq. Adoption is a legal process that has the effect of terminating the relationship between the birth mother and/or father and the child. The birth mother or father no longer has any rights, duties or privileges associated with their relationship to the child. Rather, those rights, duties and privileges are transferred to the adoptive parent. In fact, the adoptive parent has the same relationship to the child as if born to them. This includes the right to inherit from the adoptive parent.

Accordingly, the fact that one of the parents in a custody dispute is an adoptive parent as opposed to natural parent has no relevancy. That being said, the parties involved in a custody dispute have much as stake. An experience family law attorney can represent your interests and guide you through the process. Posted by Maria A. Giammona, Esq.


N.J.S.A. 9:3-38