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Revocation, Disruption, and Dissolution


Sometimes the unfortunate circumstance arises in which an adoption cannot proceed and thus revocation or disruption of the adoption occurs. These terms are commonly mistaken for the process in which a finalized adoption is dissolved. This FAQ will define each of these terms and give you some basic requirements for when these terms are applied.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Revocation?

A: Revocation is when a birth parent nullifies their consent to the adoption of the child prior to the finalization of the adoption.

Q: What is Disruption?

A: Disruption is an adoption that does not become final even though the adoptive parents have been identified. This may also be known as a failed adoption attempt.

Q: What is Dissolution?

A: Dissolution is the voiding of a legal adoption after there has been a final decree. Mutual consent of the adoptive and birth parents is generally a reason for dissolution.

Q: What is the common standard for courts when considering the revocation, dissolution or disruption of adoptions?

A: Most courts in all 50 states follow the “best interest of the child” standard. The courts look at the circumstances surrounding the adoption and the parties involved and determine whether it is in the child’s best interest to dissolve the adoption or return the child to the birth parents or legal custodian.

Q: What factors do the courts look at when determining the best interest of the child?

A: The courts look at a variety of factors including, but not limited to: the relationships developed between the adopting parents and the child, the child’s adjustment, the mental and physical health of all involved, the age of the child, the interrelationship with the child’s biological relatives including siblings, and the ability of the birth parents to provide for the child.

Q: What are some of the requirements for consent to be irrevocable?

A: Requirements vary from state to state, but all states require consent be given freely and voluntarily without undue influence, duress or fraud. Most states require the consent to be written and witnessed. Many times the consent of the guardian/parent of a minor birth parent is also required. Please refer to the FAQ document on consent for more detailed information.

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