You probably agreed to an adoption based on a relatively optimistic view of your family’s future. Divorce mishandled, could turn that parent-child relationship into an unnecessary burden for all parties.

It is possible, in some situations, for you to terminate parental rights — gained from a stepparent adoption or otherwise. However, this is a relatively specific application of the law. It might not be appropriate for your divorce.

Legal status of parents

As explained on FindLaw, becoming a parent of your spouse’s children would require you to go through the stepparent adoption process. Once the court finalizes this, you would have a legal responsibility to care for your child and legal rights to make decisions on his or her behalf.

This relationship normally persists after a marriage ends. There is often no easy solution when parents disagree about it. Considering what everybody wants and what is best for your children, you would probably have to discuss child-related obligations, authority and access during your divorce negotiations. If negotiations do not yield results, and if there are certain extenuating circumstances, more formal measures might resolve the issue more effectively.

Same-sex divorces

Many same-sex couples fought an uphill battle while adopting, especially those who married before some of the recent landmark Supreme Court decisions. Terminating those parental rights may not be the most effective strategy.

There are often alternatives. If either you or your spouse no longer wish to share all of the rights and responsibilities of parenthood, you might want to explore options for negotiating a unique child support or parenting plan agreement.

Legal solutions for complex families often require a unique approach. Especially for issues with children, such as adoption, visitation or child custody, it could help to look at the goals of everyone involved as well as the legal framework.