When you’re considering adopting a child, it may be a wise choice to consult a family lawyer. In doing so, you can ensure all documentation is filed correctly, and in a timely manner. You’ll also be prepared in the best way possible so you know what to expect well beforehand.
The Adoption Process
The process of adopting a child will be inherently dependent on the laws and regulations of the state you are adopting in. The following is a general overview of the procedure which is similar in all states. If you adopting internationally, this process may be considerably different. You will almost certainly want a family lawyer to help you. By taking time to understand the adoption process, you can prepare yourself for what is often emotional, complex, and rife with complications.
Consent to the Adoption
Before an adoption is legal, the biological parents or guardian of the child (if there are no biological parents), must give their consent. The exception to this rule is when the court has found both parents to be unfit, or their parental rights have been terminated. Depending on the state, the biological parents may not be able to give their consent until the child has been born.
It is important to note that the biological parents have the right to revoke their consent for anywhere between 30 days and 3 months or more depending on the state. This is a period of time that is typically extremely burdensome for the adoptive parents. Even with a family lawyer, there is not much that can be done if, and when, biological parents, of a sound mind, revoke their decision.
Home Study Investigation
Adoptive parents may be asked to go through a mandatory home study. This is an investigation conducted by a licensed social worker or agency and involves frequent home visits to examine both parents’ behaviors and home life. Once complete, the investigator will prepare a final report which will be submitted to the court. Information included in the report may include:
- The financial stability of the parents
- The marital stability of the parents
- The lifestyle and habit of either parent
- Whether any children are currently living in the home
- Career obligations
- The health of all household occupants
- The criminal history of the parents and any other adult living in the house
The investigate may also help to prepare both parents and any children by addressing any concerns, questions, or potential issues that might arise. A family lawyer can be there to advise you on the process and contest the report should it be submitted in a way that reflects the adoptive parents negatively; thus resulting in a denial of adoption.
The Court Hearing
Regardless of the adoption being completed through a private agency or independently, it must be approved by the court. During this process, you should have a family lawyer on your side.
If the court believes the adoption is in the best interest of the child, an order that finalizes the process will be issued. This results in a legalized adoption between the child and parents.
If the state believes the prospective adoptive parents are not fit for the child, the request to adopt may be denied. In this case, an appeal can be filed by a family lawyer.
Do You Require Help from a Family Lawyer for an Adoption
Whether you are a parent who is wishing to give up a child for adoption, are a step parent wishing to adopt a child of your spouse, or are considering adopting a child from a different home, call a family attorney to explore your rights, options, and the adoption process.