How a Cooperative Adoption Works in New Jersey
Flexible arrangements are often necessary in the wake of an adoption because the birth family does not completely want to cut off contact with the child. Through a cooperative adoption, there is some leeway to adopt a child and still maintain some sort of relationship with the birth parents. While New Jersey is not one of the 23 states that have statutes allowing written and enforceable contact agreements between parents, cooperative adoption is still an option.
Challenges of Cooperative Adoptions
There are some challenges presented by cooperative adoptions. The new adoptive parents will often want a fresh start with their child and may not wish to have a great deal of contact with the birth parents. At the same time, they won’t necessarily want their adoptive child to know yet that they are adopted. Parents may wish to hold on to the information surrounding the adoption until the child is older. Furthermore, they might feel as if continuing to have the birth family in the child’s life would be ceding some element of control of the parenting.
However, the birth family may not want to completely give up the child to someone else. In some cases, maintaining contact with the child can be a condition for putting the child up for adoption or allowing a family to assume responsibility for their child.
No Enforceable Agreements in New Jersey
Many cases allow for enforceable agreements that govern the relationship between the adoptive family and the birth family. These involve commitments that must be kept. However, New Jersey is not a state that has statutes that address enforceable cooperative adoption agreements. Therefore, any type of agreement that you reach with the birth family would essentially be a handshake-type agreement that you couldn’t get in trouble for violating.
Benefits of Cooperative Adoption
However, just because the law does not specifically provide for a cooperative adoption does not mean that you will completely want to rule it out for your adoption. It can help ease the transition for the child if he or she is older at the time of adoption and knows the birth family. The stability provided by some sort of a cooperative adoption can help facilitate the process and make it easier for the child. In addition, allowing contact with the birth mother may reduce some of the feelings of abandonment that an older adopted child might feel. These are all factors that you need to consider when deciding what role to give the birth family.
With that in mind, you should consider all the potential pros and cons when deciding whether to allow the child to have any contact with the birth family. If you do allow contact, you should think about how much there should be. There are reasons why legal counsel may be in favor of or against these types of adoptions.
Making a Contract
Even though New Jersey law does not deal with cooperative adoption agreements, there is nothing to prevent two private parties from agreeing to some sort of arrangement so long as it meets contract law requirements. If you enter into this type of arrangement as adoptive parents, you will have the ability to amend the agreement as you see fit if you decide that it is not working out as you intend. This agreement can be written or unwritten because the law would treat them both the same. New Jersey adoption attorneys can advise you on how to implement cooperative adoption in the state.
If the birth parents want to maintain contact with the adoptive child, you will need to figure out the parameters of that contact. As the legal parents of the child, you have the ability to make whatever determination is in the best interests of your family. If you do not feel that it is best for the child, you do not have to permit contact between him or her and the birth parents.
Turn to Cofsky & Zeidman when you need New Jersey adoption attorneys who can help you with all of your adoption-related legal needs. Call us today in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 to set up your initial consultation. You can reach our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.