In re Adoption of M

317 N.J. Super. 531, 722 A.2d 615 (Super. Ct. 1998)

 

RULE:

Revocation or other modification of a final judgment of adoption ought not occur absent very unusual facts and circumstances. Any such application demands and deserves the most careful judicial scrutiny. The paramount consideration remains the best interests of the adoptive child.

FACTS:

When she was 15-years old, petitioner adoptive daughter was adopted by her adoptive parents. Six years later after her adoptive parents had divorced and she and her adoptive father had conceived a child together. Petitioner moved to vacate the judgment of adoption as to her adoptive father only, intending thereafter to marry him. In granting petitioner's motion and vacating the order of adoption as to the adoptive father, the court concluded that setting aside the judgment was clearly in the best interests of the adoptive child and the adoptive parents. Petitioner had reached the age of majority, she was the natural mother of an infant son whose biological father was her adoptive father, and she was intent upon marrying her adoptive father. Vacating the judgment of adoption would permit the parties to marry, thereby legitimizing their son. The absence of any evidence of abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or other unlawful acts suggested that petitioner had made a conscious decision to transform the father-daughter relationship into one of husband and wife.

ISSUE:

Was terminating the parental relationship between an adoptive daughter and her adoptive father so that she could marry the adoptive father, who was the biological father of her son, in the best interests of the adoptive child?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court granted an adoptive daughter's motion and vacated the judgment of adoption as to her adoptive father only, as such a remedy was in the best interests of the daughter and her adoptive parents. Terminating the father-daughter relationship would permit petitioner to marry her former adoptive father, the biological father of her newborn child.

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