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Anchorage Family Law Blog

Issues you should understand when considering Alaskan adoption

There are dozens of reasons why a family or even a single person may decide to adopt a child. Sometimes, the child involved has a biological relationship to the person considering adoption. It's common to adopt nieces, nephews and even grandchildren if your siblings or children cannot handle the pressures of parenting. Other times, someone who can't have children for one reason or another decides that adoption is a great choice for building a family.

Regardless of why you're seeking to adopt a child, you should expect a relatively complex legal process. The state carefully vets people considering adoption, and there is a lot of paperwork that you will need to execute to complete the process.

Divorce mediation: What to expect from the process

Many divorcing couples assume that they will head to court in order to put their marriages in the past. While litigation is necessary at times, you shouldn't assume this is the only way to finalize your divorce.

Mediation is a good method to consider, as this puts you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse in full control over the process.

Why do some couples break up in their 50s?

In the not-too-distant the past -- when people viewed marriage and long-term romantic commitments differently -- elderly spouses tended to stick together until the end. These days, divorce is becoming more common for spouses who are over the age of 50, perhaps due to a mix of changing perceptions about marriage and love, and the fact we live much longer and enjoy better health in old age than we did several decades ago.

Still, when two long-term spouses, who have survived so much life experience together, decide to call it quits, it certainly makes you wonder why. In fact, it's not easy to pinpoint the reasons for any marital break up, but here are three common reasons that 50-plus spouses cite for their divorces:

Will child custody get in the way of your summer vacation?

Are you looking forward to taking a vacation with your child this summer? Do you have all the details in order? Are you beginning to wonder if your child custody arrangement and parenting agreement will stand in your way?

It goes without saying that you need to review your parenting agreement before you make any travel arrangements. This will go a long way in ensuring that you know what you can and can't do.

Do you have the ability to visit with your children virtually?

Noncustodial parents will usually have the right to visit with their children multiple days per month. In the digital age, though, these visitation rights do not only cover the right to visit with children in person. They also cover the right to visit with children virtually.Virtual visitation includes visiting children via Skype, telephone calls, WhatsApp, email, FaceTime, text message and other forms of digital communication.

Do I have the right to visit my children "virtually?"

Could a mental illness diagnosis affect your custody case?

If you are an Alaska parent living with a mental illness, you may have the very real fear that your diagnosis could lead to your losing custody of your children to their other parent, a family member or even the state.

In the past, it was fairly common for some courts to routinely remove children from the care of a mentally ill parent, or to severely restrict that parent's rights to visitation with their children. Because of this, many parents resisted medical treatment to diagnose and treat their conditions, which only made their mental health status even more precarious.

Are you experiencing parenting-time interference?

It can be difficult to get used to sharing custody of your child with their other parent. This applies even for parents who work hard to be fair with each other and the child they both love. Sadly, many parents deal with ongoing frustrations over custody, and may even face parenting time interference from the other party.

Parenting time interference takes many forms, but they all boil down to the same basic principle. If one parent acts in a way that obstructs the other parent's physical time, ability to communicate or to build and maintain a relationship with the child, these actions could qualify as parenting-time interference.

What is a collaborative law divorce?

The collaborative law process has existed since the 1990s. A group of Minnesota family law attorneys created the process because they wanted a fairer and more direct way to settle divorce matters.

These days, the collaborative law process has been so successful in meeting the needs of divorcing parties that attorneys have expanded its use into other areas of the law that require complicated settlement negotiations.

What is adoption like for parents today?

It used to be the norm for adoptive parents to keep their adoptions a secret. Or, if the child knew he or she was an adoptee, it was especially rare for the adoptive parents and the child to know who the biological parent was.

Courts usually sealed the records associated with biological parents, and until the adopted child applied to unseal those records, the biological parents would remain a mystery. But what is the situation like today? Is it different?

Adopting in Alaska: Getting started

If you're considering growing your family with the help of adoption, then you're about to become a hero to one or more children. Adoption is a wonderful thing. It helps children find forever families and gives them the stability they need to grow up happy and healthy.

When you're ready to adopt in Anchorage, you should understand how it works. To be considered as an adoptive parent, you'll need to be willing to care for children who are teens or sibling groups. You should be willing to care for those with medical or behavioral needs. If you are Native American or an Alaska Native, that's also beneficial.