Adoption is governed by a complex set of state and federal laws that apply from the start of the process to the finish. These laws apply to both birth parents as well as adoptive parents. If you are considering adoption, there are strict legal requirements you must comply with, as well as significant documentation that must be completed properly and filed with the appropriate departments at certain points in the adoption process.
An adoption lawyer can help guide you through the process to a successful, stress-free adoption. Working with an adoption lawyer will help you understand and navigate the complex laws that the adoption agency may not be equipped to handle, and will provide you with legal advice and representation so your questions are answered and your rights protected.
Types of Adoptions
There are different ways to adopt a child. These include private, public, involuntary, and contested adoptions. Regardless of which type of adoption you are seeking, having an experienced adoption lawyer on your side will help make the process go more smoothly.
If the birth parents or birth mother voluntarily places the child up for adoption, the birth parent(s) may be involved in choosing the adoptive family. Although many private adoptions are done through an adoption agency, working with your own attorney increases the likelihood that your rights are protected. For example, your attorney will help you complete any necessary paperwork properly and timely and mitigate any unforeseen issues that might arise.
In a public adoption, also known as “foster-to-adopt”, the child is first placed in a foster family, and the family then moves to adopt the child permanently.
In most public adoption situations, the parental rights of the child’s biological parents have already been terminated, possibly because of misconduct, illegal activities, or neglect.
The state’s goal is to reunite children with their biological parents. Therefore, the child may reside in foster care temporarily until the birth parents sufficiently comply with state reunification services.
In an involuntary adoption, the child is usually placed in foster care or placed with another family member. The family member can seek to adopt the child, or the child will be adopted from the foster agency through a public adoption.
A contested adoption occurs when one parent wants to put the child up for adoption, but the other parent does not consent. In some cases, the mother wants to put the child up for adoption but the father does not. Other times, the birth father agrees but DNA testing reveals that he is not the biological father of the child.
In a contested adoption, or any adoption for that matter, the court will consider the best interests of the child.
Step Parent Adoption
When a parent marries someone who is not the biological parent of their child, the new parent may wish to adopt the child and take over legal and financial responsibilities from the non-custodial parent. In most cases, this type of adoption requires consent from the non-custodial parent, unless that parent has been absent from the child’s life or has or already had their parental rights terminated.
A birth parent can change their mind at any time prior to signing the adoption paperwork, and even for a short time afterward.
Regardless of the type of adoption you are considering, an experienced adoption attorney can help.
How an Adoption Attorney Can Help
If you are considering adopting a child, an experienced adoption attorney can help you find an adoption agency, pursue an independent adoption, assist with an intrafamily adoption, or help you adopt a step-child.
For an adoption to move forward, the court must terminate the parental rights of the birth parents, or both biological parents must consent to the adoption. In most private or agency adoptions, termination of parental rights is voluntary.
An adoption lawyer can prepare or review the necessary paperwork, represent you in any court hearings, and make sure that you are in compliance with applicable state and federal laws that govern adoption.
Semita Legalis: Professional Guidance for Your Legal Journey
If you are considering adoption, Semita Legalis can help.
Semita Legalis and lead attorney David Breon guide our clients to a brighter future by providing clear, helpful legal counsel, committed advocacy, and fair rates.
Contact Semita Legalis today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case.