A family lawyer is able to help you go through the adoption process within the law. Whatever your reason for adoption may be—infertility, desire to raise a child as a single parent or a desire to expand your family—there are some important processes involved. This article will help you learn more about those processes, as well as how a family lawyer can help you with them.
Consent To Adoption
There is no legal adoption that can take place without the biological parents' consent. In some cases, the parental rights of biological parents have been revoked by the state for a reason like negligence, child abuse or drug use. In case the rights of the biological parents are intact, these parents should sign a consent form. As a person seeking the consent of the biological parents, you ought to know that in some states no such consent can be acquired legally until the child is born. In other jurisdictions, such consent can only be acquired three to four months after birth.
It is important to note that the biological parents may change their mind within the law. In some jurisdictions, biological parents have a window of three months within which they can change their minds. The change of heart is prevalent in cases where biological parents have not gone through counselling to vet their intention to give up their child.
Investigation Of Adoptive Parents
After the biological parents have given their consent, then it is your turn to be vetted for competence. In the interest of the child, a social worker must investigate whether you are able to meet the needs of the child you want to adopt. A home study report prepared by the social worker is presented to a court to facilitate a decision. A social worker will investigate your financial and marital stability (in case of marriage), career obligations, physical and mental health as well as any criminal history.
The home study will help you as the adoptive parent learn more about how to handle the child. Issues such as when to reveal the adoption to the child and how to respond to your family's and friends' reactions will also be discussed with a social worker. The home study report is not always a positive one, so you should be prepared for a negative result and the process of appeal if you are still interested in adoption.
All adoptions go through a court for approval. You have to file an adoption petition through your family lawyer. After this is filed, a hearing follows. Before a formal hearing starts, notice is given to the biological parents, the adoption agency and the child's legal representative. The adoption petition cites the name/s and residence of adoptive parents, the relationship between yourself and the child to be adopted if any (i.e. relative, stepparent etc), and a statement that the adoption is in the best interest of the child.
If the court finds that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, an adoption decree is given which legalises the relationship between yourself and the child. The decree may grant a name change if you had requested for one.
For more information, contact a family law firm, such as Ian Harper & Co Specialist Family Lawyers.