Open Adoption Laws for Three-Parent Families

A woman who is thinking about moving to Washington, D.C. to attend law school soon is already on the forefront of a cutting-edge legislative development. The biological mother of a young boy, she would like to move there in order to be closer to the adoptive family with whom he has lived virtually since his birth.

The adoption was “open” – a term that can have definitions almost as varied as the number of families that participate in open adoptions – but for her son has resulted what everyone involved apparently sees as a successful ongoing relationship, reports the Washington Post. Hence, Hava Leichtman, the biological mother, would like to move to D.C. to be closer to her son’s adoptive family.

While such arrangements, once unheard-of, can be successful, they also pose potential legal issues if one side or the other doesn’t comply with their initial agreement – or if circumstances change and require compromises that were not initially contemplated.

At least one study recommends that birth mothers deserve the protection of contracts for post-adoption visitation that can be legally enforced, and 13 states have enacted laws to provide for this, according to the Post article. Penalties for non-compliance can range from fines to court-ordered visitation. Such laws can also protect the adoptive parents from having their baby later reclaimed by a biological parent.

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