Revoking An Adoption If My Ex Won’t Let Me See The Child

Pittsburgh divorce lawyer Anna CiardiQuestion:

I adopted my ex-wife’s daughter before we were divorced and was ordered to pay child support, but now I’m curious about how to revoke an adoption.

Since the divorce, my ex-wife has moved the child out of state, allowed me little contact with her, and allows my adopted stepdaughter to meet with her biological father who terminated his parental rights so I could adopt her.

I feel like my ex-wife convinced me of this adoption solely to get child support from me.

Can anything be done to either drop my child support, have my visitation rights enforced, or potentially revoke the adoption?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Your question presents a difficult situation. Adoption is very serious. It results in the same parent-child relationships as blood relationships.

The adopted child has all the rights and duties of a child and heir of the adopting parent, and the rights and duties of the natural parent are terminated. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, under the law, you are considered the father of your adopted stepdaughter, and this includes an obligation to provide support.

The law considers the concepts of child support and custody time separately; therefore you still are required to pay child support regardless of the fact that you may not see the child very often. But I would also note, that as the child’s adoptive father you have the right to petition the court for increased custody time.

So while an adoptive father has the same obligation as a biological father to provide support, you also have the same right as a biological father to spend time with your child. Child support obligations can be lowered if a significant amount of custody time is spent with the paying parent.

At the very least, you may be able to work out a schedule where you can see the child regularly. Dependent on how long ago your ex-wife moved out of state, you might also be able to petition the court where you live to attempt to prevent her relocation with the child.

Also, if you have experienced a substantial and material change in circumstances since your last support order was entered, you can petition the court for a modification. A child support attorney licensed in your jurisdiction can analyze the particulars of your situation and advise you as to whether a downward modification is likely in your case.

Where I practice, revocation of adoption has been permitted in extremely rare circumstances.

Generally, the court has the power to revoke an adoption where fraud has been established by clear and convincing evidence. This would place an extremely high burden on you to show that you were fraudulently induced to agree to the adoption.

I would also note that the court is unlikely to revoke the adoption and leave the child with no legally recognized father. This outcome would be much more likely to occur if her biological father is also seeking to have his rights reestablished.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pittsburgh Divorce Lawyer Anna M. Ciardi, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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