Question: We have adopted my daughter under GAWA. We are heading for a divorce and I would like to know if anything happens to my daughter’s adoption considering the fact that we only legal guardians?
Answer: You must understand that under GAWA (Guardianship and Wards Act), adoptive families are only guardians and not legal parents. It is the state that is the sole custodian of the child. Technically speaking, state has the right to take the child at anytime (before the age of 18) if they can prove that the child’s best interests are jeopardized.
I’ve not heard of any incidences of state reclaiming the child’s custody from adoptive parents (I mean guardians) but if your divorce alters your life style significantly (for example being unemployed and homeless), there’s nothing that prevents the state from doing so in the best interests of the child.
After the divorce, if your spouse gets remarried and has biological children, they become the heir apparent and not your child that’s adopted under GAWA. Biological children can legally block the adopted child from getting anything unless and until you have a will clearly stating the allocations of your property.
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