If you are looking to adopt a child, a family law attorney can help you get legal custody of a child that is not biologically yours. The process of adopting a child may be more complex than most couples realize.
Whether you want to become the legal guardian of your step-child or you and your spouse are looking to adopt a child, there are numerous legal documents and court proceedings to look forward to. A lawyer can help you throughout the process.
A family law attorney that specializes in adoption can help you find an agency to adopt from, file all necessary paperwork, represent you in court and protect your legal rights post-adoption.
What does the process entail?
There are various steps in the adoption process. Each individual adoption process may vary. Here are the basic steps to adoption:
Step 1: The first step in the adoption process is the termination of the biological parents’ legal rights. The Termination of Parental Rights is a legal process in which a judge issues a permanent termination of the birth parents’ rights. This process must be completed before the child can be adopted. The termination of legal rights can be voluntary or involuntary and is solely determined by the judge.
Step 2:Meet with an agency social worker. A social worker will come to your home and ask various questions regarding your home and lifestyle. The goal of these meetings is to ensure that you are ready to be parents and that your home and family-life are stable.
Step 3: After starting the adoption process and meeting with a social worker, you may begin looking for a child. At this time, you can contact agencies that have children for adoption, begin a private adoption of a step-child or another child whose birth parents have relinquished their rights.
Step 4: Meet the child. If you are chosen as the best option for the child, you will be able to meet the child before the adoption is finalized. After the initial meeting, you will meet with the child a few more times to ensure that the parents and child are a good match. At this time, all paperwork will be prepared.
Step 5: Finalize the adoption. The final step in the adoption process is the court hearing. All paperwork will be completed, and the judge will grant you legal guardianship. You will receive an adoption decree and an amended birth certificate that names you as the parents. After the adoption has been finalized, you can take your child home.
If you are worried that the child’s birth parents may try to revoke their consent and get their rights back, speak with your attorney. Your attorney will be able to provide you with reassurance and legal documentation preventing them from taking your child. Speak with your lawyer to learn about special circumstances in which the birth parent could revoke their consent.