Adoption laws are primarily state-regulated laws. The parent-child relationship established by adoption, however, may have direct consequences in areas of Federal law affected by family status such as Social Security. All 50 states have statutes governing adoption; the process by which a legal parent-child relationship is created between individuals not biologically parent and child. In some states, doctrines of "equitable adoption" allow courts to recognize adoptions when not all statutory procedures have been carried out.
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