In a bizarre case in New Jersey, the mother of an 18-year-old girl has (so far) successfully used adult adoption to circumvent a court’s custody order. Evidence indicates that the woman and her new spouse filed the documents and completed the adoption without telling the girl’s biological father, who had been granted physical custody.
According to court records, the couple exhibited model behavior for the first few years after the divorce. The father had custody, but the mother lived 15 minutes away. The parents worked effectively together to raise the children, without any need for intervention from the courts. Then the mother remarried.
Shortly after her remarriage, the mother began keeping the children at her house after visitation hours were over, in violation of the court order. She and her husband, according to court records, systematically attempted to cut the children off from their father. The father filed motions with the court and the court issued an order prohibiting the step-father from interfering with the father’s relationships with his children. The judge even indicated that he might grant sole custody to the father (the order in place was for shared custody).
When the oldest daughter became 18, the stepfather, unbeknownst to the biological father, went to another court and filed a petition for an adult adoption, seeking to legally adopt the girl. The petition was granted. Some time later, the biological father attempted to enforce the court’s custody arrangements, but was advised by the court that the adult adoption rendered them void.
The biological father asked the court to vacate the adoption, but the court denied the petition. The father has asked for reconsideration.
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