Can a Stepparent Adoption Be Reversed After a Divorce?

Divorce is undeniably difficult, and it often gets messy. One issue that can complicate matters further is the uncertainty surrounding the status of a stepparent adoption following a divorce. In this post, we’ll explore whether a stepparent adoption can be reversed after a divorce.

Understanding Stepparent Adoption

When a stepparent adopts a child, it permanently terminates the rights of the biological parent and grants the adopting stepparent full legal rights over the child. Essentially, the stepparent transitions from being a “step” parent to a legal parent, with all the accompanying responsibilities and rights.

Impact of Divorce on Stepparent Adoption

A divorce does not nullify the legal rights of a stepparent over their adopted child. The adoption remains intact, meaning the stepparent continues to be the child’s legal parent despite the end of the marriage. Divorce affects the relationship between the spouses but does not change the legal parent-child relationship established by adoption.

Can You Reverse a Stepparent Adoption?

The more nuanced question families often face is whether a stepparent can reverse the adoption after a divorce due to no longer wanting involvement with the child’s mother. In Nebraska, reversing an adoption is highly restricted. The only scenario where an adoption might be reversed is if the biological parent who relinquished their rights can prove they were coerced or unduly influenced into doing so. This includes situations where they were pressured, lacked the capacity to understand the decision, or were otherwise taken advantage of.

Importance of Commitment in Adoption

For stepparents considering adoption, it’s crucial to commit fully to the decision. Adoption is a lifelong commitment and should be pursued out of genuine desire to parent the child, not merely to please a spouse. Once an adoption is finalized, it is difficult to undo, and the stepparent remains responsible for the child permanently.


Divorce does not reverse a stepparent adoption, and reversing an adoption post-divorce is challenging and rare. Prospective adoptive stepparents should ensure they are fully committed to the lifelong responsibility of parenting the child.

If you are contemplating stepparent adoption, seeking legal advice is beneficial. A qualified adoption lawyer at Bundy Law can provide guidance and support through the process.

Call our office at 402-235-1112 to schedule a free consultation with our office.